Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Best Way to Be Informed of New Release by Caddy Rowland

I wish I could say I was going to make sure and blog more often. I can't promise that, though. I do a lot of guest posts on other blogs and I'm in the middle of writing a new saga. Those things take priority.

Facebook has made it difficult for people who "like" a fanpage to even see the notifications sent from those pages liked. Unless you manually go to each page you like, your chances of seeing announcements are minimal.

The notification button you can select on Amazon to be informed when an author released doesn't work 99 percent of the time. You may have used this button, thinking you would get a notice on several of your favorite authors, but guess what? It's doubtful. Who knows when this will be fixed? It's been months.

Therefore, the only way to ensure that you will know when a favorite author has a new book out is to sign up for their new release email. Some do newsletters. I don't. I ONLY send a notice to the email you provide when I have a new release. I assume you're as busy as me and don't need chatty newsletter crowding your inbox! I DO NOT SPAM OR SHARE the email address either.

If you want to know when my new books come out, please sign up: http://eepurl.com/rfjaX

A new book from me will be released in the next month or so! Get signed up for the email today and you won't be in the dark when it comes out.

Thank you!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Don't Faint! I'm Cooking! (Pumpkin Soup)

I married wisely. Some might say I didn't, as we don't have a lot of money. But they're wrong. Not only did I marry a man who is loyal, faithful, unafraid to let me do my thing, respectful, and romantic, I also married a chef.

Yeah. A chef. You see, while I do enjoy baking (but seldom do because my husband doesn't eat much of it) and cooking if it's "fancy" stuff, I absolutely HATE the routine of daily dinner-making. Yawn. I just can't get excited about making sure everything gets done at once when it doesn't involve either fresh herbs, sauces from scratch, eye catching displays, or all of the previously mentioned. I guess it's because I'm an artist, so I'm very visual, plus I like getting my hands dirty.

And, lets face it: most days everyone is too busy for that kind of cooking. So, I married a chef, a man who can throw together a regular meal and make it taste wonderful. Best of all, he doesn't mind doing it!

Then an author friend of mine from Belgium happened to mention he had just make pumpkin soup. Now, I've only had pumpkin soup once, and I liked it. It was one of those things I filed in the back of my mind to make—someday.

We are invited to a relatives home for Thanksgiving and I wanted to bring something that would be different, yet fit the mood. It also needed to be something that wouldn't leave a huge gap in the meal should we decide not to come because of inclement weather.

When Andrew mentioned his soup, bells rang in my head. Perfect! He was gracious enough to give me his recipe. Or, rather, kind of a recipe. He changes it around, but after several emails back and forth I got the drift. The test batch is cooking right now.

If it turns out, my Thanksgiving dilemma is solved! If it turns out okay, but needs adjusting, I can do that and have it down pat by the holiday. Dave (my husband) and I will be the test rats.

By the way, if you haven't read Andrew Ashling's work, I highly recommend it—if you are open minded. It's a combination of several genres and I have to say he's the best storyteller I've ever read. Some of the themes might upset you.  Tough. Get over it and read on. You'll be glad you did. I would have never guessed I would enjoy knights and swords. If fact, just the opposite. Now I find myself enthralled with Ashling's world.

Here is a link to his blog, where you will find all of his books. Seriously, take a chance and branch out. Start with his Dark Tales of Randamor the Recluse Series (Bonds of Hate: The Invisible Chains #1)

I'm impatiently waiting for the next book in the series. In the meantime, Dave and I will be eating pumpkin soup. At least, I hope we can eat it...

Caddy Rowland is a novelist and painter. Her social media links follow.
To find out about her novels (including The Gastien Series, a story that begins with a bohemian artist in France) visit http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B005FW8BZE
Sign up for New Release Newsletter by Email: http://eepurl.com/rfjaX
Gastien Fanpage: www.facebook.com/Gastien.Beauchamp
Author Blog: www.caddyrowlandblog.blogspot.com
Author Email: caddyauthor@yahoo.com
Twitter: @caddyorpims

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Those Crazy Bohemians (Suzanne Valadon)

One doesn't hear much about the women artists who painted during the heyday of Montmartre. Life was rough for those bohemians, and the lifestyle didn't bode well for females. Still the same, there were a few. In fact, one of them, Berthe Morisot, is considered one of the original impressionists and part of the inner circle of those great artists. That will be a later post.

For now, I want to tell you about another, named Suzanne Valadon. Although she was far from perfect,Valadon was a person that I admire. She came from nothing, struggled her whole life, refused to be put in her place sexually, socially, or in regard to her painting career. She didn't just color outside the lines, she refused to acknowledge any lines existed!

Suzanne was born Marie Clementine Valadon in 1865 to an unmarried French laundress. It is unknown who her father was. By age 11 she was working in a milliners workshop. She had many jobs from then on, including making funeral wreaths, selling vegetables, and waitressing. Life was anything but easy for an unwed mother and her illegitimate daughter.

As a teenager she made friends with some of the artists in Montmartre. They in turn helped her get a position as an acrobat in the circus. When she fell from a trapeze and hurt her back, that career ended. She recovered, but couldn't work as an acrobat anymore.

Next she became an artist's model. It was Pierre Puvis de Chavannes who first painted her. Later, Renoir, Toulouse-Lautrec, and other artists did the same. Everyone assumed she also had sex with the artists who painted her, as it was common knowledge that the artists believed they had the right to make love to their models. Their assumption in regard to Suzanne was most often true. It was widely known that she had affairs with de Chavannes, Renoir, Toulouse-Lautrec, and others. I've seen photos of Suzanne and she was a beauty. It isn't hard to understand why men sought her attention.

She also became notorious for her daring stunts. It was not unusual for her to come home in the early hours of the morning, drunk and screaming obscenities. On occasion she washed clothes outside while topless, and one time she slid down a staircase banister completely nude except for a mask at a popular club! She also frequented Au Lapin Agile and Chat Noir.

At eighteen she was pregnant and gave birth to a son: Maurice (who would become a famous painter himself). Unsure who the father was, many speculated it was Miguel Utrillo, Renoir, Puvis, or another artist named Boissy. Utrillo later on gave Maurice his name, but no one knew if he was really the father—including Suzanne. She turned her son over to her mother to raise, and she continued her bohemian lifestyle. When she did take care of Maurice, she would give him whiskey in his bottle to get him to go to sleep. Later on she did become a better mother, but motherhood was not her strong suit. That is not a part of her that I admire.

What made her different from most sleep-arounds during that time? Well, she dared to dream. During this whole time she was studying the techniques of the artists she posed for and she began painting. In 1890 she became friends with Degas, who admired her budding talent and worked with her, teaching her how to hone her painting skills, buying several of her paintings, and getting her career started. Because of him, she became the first woman to ever show in the prestigious Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts.

Her work before Degas was all in pastel or pencil. In the 1890's she began using oils.One of her portraits was of Eric Satie, a famous composer. They had a brief, but very intense affair, and he asked her to marry him. She turned him down. Next she became even more heavily involved with a stockbroker named Paul Mousis. They married, and that gave her the financial freedom to paint and draw full-time.

Her style was frank, raw, and full of energy. Because she had no formal training, Suzanne was unfettered when it came to style or technique. However, they left the city and she struggled to find balance between being a proper wife and being a painter. Her painting suffered even more when her son began to develop an alcohol problem, along with mental illness.

In 1906 she met a friend of her son named Andre Utter. They began a torrid affair. She was 44 and he was 23. Utter encouraged her to paint more, and her career took off. Her painting titled "Adam and Eve" was a portrait of herself and Utter. It was the first painting to show a fully nude male and female together done by a woman. Suzanne wasn't careful about the affair and Mousis found out. He divorced her in 1910.

Suzanne continued to paint, living with Utter and her son, Maurice. She did have some shows. However, she was becoming less noticed than her son, and some other artists in the area, like Picasso. When Utter went off to war in 1914 he married Suzanne so that she could get an allowance from the military. When Utter got injured in the war, she left to be closer to him. When the war ended, they returned to Paris, where Utter marketed him own, Suzanne's, and Maurice's work. Maurice's work sold the most.

Suzanne had several showings at different galleries and always received positive critical acclaim, but only moderate sales. Finally, in 1924 she signed a contract with an art gallery. She had enough now to live comfortably and buy a country estate. She spent a lot of time there. However, things were getting ugly between the three of them. Mostly it was because Maurice was overshadowing them professionally. Utter began drinking and womanizing.She continued to paint and had two major retrospectives of her work shown.

Her health declined throughout the thirties. In 1935 Maurice married and moved out, and her husband also left. He and Suzanne never divorced. During the next few years her life remained filled with friends and with doing art. One day in 1938 she was painting at her easel when she had a stroke. She died only hours later at age 72.

Although there was an increased appreciation for women artists during the later twentieth century, it has always been the men that took center stage. Yes, those men were great—and, yes, they deserve recognition even now. Yes, I admire them greatly.

Still, I can't help but feel as a women myself that part of the reason Suzanne wasn't (and isn't) talked about as much was because she dared to live life as fully as a man during a time when that was deeply frowned upon, even in Montmartre.  It was one thing to "let loose" once in awhile, but living full-time like a bohemian was highly suspect! When Valadon is brought up, more about her sexual life with artists is mentioned than her almost 500 paintings (not counting those destroyed or lost). In fact, none of the females that painted during that time are ever discussed as much as their male counterparts and that's unfortunate. Suzanne, and others who dared to "paint with the boys" were important contributors to the bohemian art era.

Today I say "Thank-you, Marie Clementine Valadon aka Suzanne aka simply Marie. You had balls, girl. I'm proud of you. And, by the way, your work ROCKS. One of my dreams is to someday do a historical fiction novel featuring you. It will take a lot of research, but perhaps in the future I'll have luxury of taking that amount of time to create your story. May you rest in peace and live on in "the color".

Caddy Rowland is a novelist and painter. Her social media links follow.
To find out about her novels (including The Gastien Series, a story that begins with a bohemian artist in France) visit http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B005FW8BZE
Sign up for New Release Newsletter by Email: http://eepurl.com/rfjaX
Author Email: caddyauthor@yahoo.com
Twitter: @caddyorpims

Friday, September 27, 2013

Those Crazy Bohemians (The Moulin Rouge)

As we've discussed on previous Crazy Bohemian posts, Montmartre during the late 1800's and early 1900's was a hotbed of not only cutting edge artists, but of both common and nefarious entertainment. The circus people headquartered there, there were many places where one could buy drugs, a woman, a young boy, or indulge in drinking and dancing. The two places most often frequented by artists (Chat Noir and Au Lapin Agile) have already had posts of their own.

Another cabaret opened during this time that most people are still familiar with today. The Moulin Rouge is now very touristy, much different than the Moulin Rouge of the 1800's. Opening in 1889, the Moulin Rouge was technically in Pigalle, another district of Paris, but it shares the 18th arrondissement with Montmartre. The boundaries blurred and most people think of the Moulin Rouge as part of Montmartre, since the place sits at the foot of Montmartre hill.

It sported a huge red windmill on its roof, along with electric lights! Joseph Oller was its creator, and he designed it as a place for the very rich to come and "slum" for an evening in Montmartre, which was by now very trendy and happening. Workers, artists, foreigners, elegant women, middle class, the extremely wealthy all mingled here. There was a huge, fake elephant in the courtyard, which was reserved for men only. Inside, they could partake in opium, booze, and women.

Back in the beginning, the place was ribald and, although its decor was upscale and extremely glamorous, the activities that went on there were anything but mainstream. Legend has it that the can-can dance started there, although in reality that dance was first done earlier by young boys on the streets in lines, who were sometimes arrested for kicking up their legs in public! Then it moved to the dance floors and was done by couples, who were also encouraged to refrain from doing it.

The Moulin Rouge soon got the nickname "The First Palace of Women" for good reason. The dancers were mostly courtesans who danced their dances to advertise their "wares". Usually they had on lacy, revealng underthings that showed when they kicked up their legs. However, sometimes they tended to forego the underthings, allowing the patrons full view of their most prized items for sale. I often wonder, as a friend of mine pointed out, was that children's rhyme, "There's a place in France, where the ladies wear no pants..." based originally on this cabaret?

It was considered a tawdry, decadent place; a place where people with morals didn't frequent. At least, in theory. In reality, many people visited once the evening came.  As time progressed, it became a legitimate place of entertainment, with much less emphasis on prostitution and the focus on world class performers gracing its stage. Many famous singers and musicians played there over the years.

The Moulin Rouge looked fun and exciting on the surface, but many men were financially ruined because of the drugs and women. Some even took their lives. In 1903 the place was renovated and reopened and that was when the more famous, legitimate acts started performing. In fact, the Moulin Rouge regularly featured the operetta. The bawdy, raw Moulin Rouge of old was no more. It was now not only socially acceptable, it was a must to be seen at.

In 1915 the Moulin Rouge was completely destroyed in a fire. It reopened in 1921 and still stands today. The dancers still do the can-can, but they have on underwear, drugs aren't for sale, and the women aren't hawking their bodies. At least, not that I know of. All in all, its now a very showy, tourist driven place that has lots of appeal to visitors but none of the energy that was part of the original. It may be a much better place morally, but Moulin Rouge is only a shadow of what it once was.

Time does change everything. Even though many of the changes were for the good regarding the Moulin Rouge, a part of me wishes we could go back in time; see what it was really like when it first opened and anything one wished for could be had. What an interesting evening that would be!

Of course, we would only be spectators.

Of course.

Look for more "Those Crazy Bohemian posts here in the future!

Caddy Rowland is a novelist and painter. Her social media links follow.
To find out about her novels (including The Gastien Series, a story that begins with a bohemian artist in France) visit http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B005FW8BZE
Sign up for New Release Newsletter by Email: http://eepurl.com/rfjaX
Author Email: caddyauthor@yahoo.com
Twitter: @caddyorpims

Friday, August 23, 2013

And Then He Was Two (Toddler Magic Replaces Baby Magic)

Gideon and Grandpa Dave (My Husband)

On Monday, our Grandson by love turned two. How in the world did that happen? It seems like only a month ago that I held him in my arms at seven weeks. Now, here he is, running, galloping, talking...and the baby is no more.

Oh, there are still hints of baby in his face and in his mannerisms. But every day, the boy takes over more and more. What a beautiful, magical child he has turned out to be. Is there anything more curious than a toddler? If so, I haven't seen it. He has a lust for life that can't be quenched and a memory that surprises me more every time I see him.

Mom and Dad threw a small party for him. There were eight of us. Maternal grandparents, parents, us, Aunt Kiki, and Gideon. It was so obvious that he knew the whole event was about him. You could see the glow in his face. Everything he did, he did with a secret smile. Look at that, he seemed to be thinking, every single person here is totally focused on just me. I must be pretty special.

The theme was Thomas the Train, as Gideon is absolutely crazy for trains. He plays with his train table at home at lot. There were posters, streamers with the different Thomas characters on them, a Thomas train in the center of the table, and all of the dishes and napkins were Thomas, too. Gideon kept thinking it was Thomas the Train's birthday!

We still have his birthday gifts wrapped and ready for him, as they will be things to keep over here. At this age, anything you buy is exciting to them. God help us when he's older and everything he wants costs a lot more money! One of his presents from Mom and Dad was a slinky. It was green and right away he cried, "Bracelet! Pretty bracelet!" and held out his arm. Grandpa Dave put it on him and he wore it proudly. There was a lot of fun with that simple toy. Grandpa Dave could make it do wonderful things that brought a loud belly laugh out of Gideon.

The cake was a big hit with him, too, this year. Last year he seemed a little overwhelmed and unsure of what to do with a cake. This year? Um, no problem. As you can see by the photo below.

This summer has been so much fun, taking him to the water park, watching him run and play in the back yard. He loves to mow our lawn with his mower. What do you think the chances are that will last into his teenage years? :)

Whatever the next year brings for new developments, I know Gideon will be driving, giving us front row seats to watch his race toward adulthood. I just hope the speed limit is 5 mph. I don't want his childhood to go too fast.

Thanks for taking time to allow me to share Gideon's special day. I'll be back soon...probably with more "Those Crazy Bohemian" posts...but one never knows what will get into my head between now and my next visit with you!

Caddy Rowland is a novelist and painter. Her social media links follow.
To find out about her novels (including The Gastien Series, a story that begins with a bohemian artist in France) visit http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B005FW8BZE
Sign up for New Release Newsletter by Email: http://eepurl.com/rfjaX
Gastien Fanpage: www.facebook.com/Gastien.Beauchamp
Author Blog: www.caddyrowlandblog.blogspot.com
Author Email: caddyauthor@yahoo.com
Twitter: @caddyorpims

Monday, July 29, 2013

Those Crazy Bohemians (Sexuality)

As an indie author I am responsible for everything in regard to my work, from the writing to the publicity. That includes, of course, all research. What fun I had researching the bohemian artists of nineteenth century France! Although I am taking a break from historical fiction for my next series, I know I will come back to this time period and this social group in future work.

We have explored many aspects of the bohemian lifestyle in previous posts. We know these artists lived free of social convention when it came to painting and partying, but what about their lives when it came to relationships?

Sexuality among the bohemians was as free and unconventional as the rest of their life. Although some artists had long term partners (people do fall in love, after all), in general most had casual relationships or short term romances/sexual liaisons. Even those who had spouses usually had mistresses and one night stands. Free love officially got its start during this time.

Artist models were passed around from painter to painter, and usually there was a sexual relationship between the model and the man currently painting her. She was the "muse". One artist would be inspired by her hair, another by the way her ankles and calves looked. Once the initial excitement of whatever impressed the painter was over, they usually looked for new inspiration and the model moved on. Many people in present day mistakenly think being an artist's model was glamorous. Not so. It was akin to being a prostitute, but usually without pay! At least, in monetary terms. The model had her face and body featured in paintings for the world to see, hopefully for many generations to come.

There were also sexual encounters between higher class women and the bohemian artists. Women have always been drawn to artistic types, and these poor, starving artists were no exception - especially if they were good-looking. However, it was understood that it was sex only. The woman looked right past the painter should she meet him on the street while with her spouse or friends. Nor was the artist considered marrying material. He was simply wild entertainment, to be tossed aside by the woman once finished.

Of course, there were many bohemian artists who only dreamed of having a beautiful, wealthy lover who actually smelled good! Most times they ended up with some poor grisette who was not so good-looking (and much less good smelling!). No matter. Sex was frequent, partners were plentiful, and it was a way to forget their rumbling stomachs and cold rooms for a few hours.

Homosexuality and lesbianism were also more accepted with the bohemians. With their "live and let live" lifestyle, it didn't matter to them who a person loved or simply desired. It was the business of the couple and no one else.

Montmartre was also a place where the wealthier people came to "slum" for a night. They could find prostitutes of both sexes, some of them very young boys. Yes, Montmartre was known as the hub of vices and pleasures.

On the surface, it looked like all fun and games. The average person ignored the fact that these artists many times went without eating, lived in unheated slums, seldom had running water, and likely found most of life quite unpleasant and depressing. Who could blame them for finding what pleasure they could out of life? Who wouldn't?

Another thing to keep in mind during this time was that syphilis had started to become a huge issue. Along with poor birth control, this lifestyle of free sex had its repercussions; yet young men with access to young women very seldom thought about it. Many artists fathered children but didn't bother to marry. The women then ended up in worse poverty, with hungry children to feed.

Yes, to their credit, some did marry or at least try to provide for their children, but by and large it was a man's world, and women opened their legs at their own peril. Still, there was no shortage of women who were willing to model (and more) for these crazy bohemians.

After all, not many could resist the lure of the nonconforming, free-living artists. Since they painted wild and without rules, it had to seem that they would likely be the the same in bed. And who knows? Maybe they were every bit as good with that particular "paintbrush". Only the artists and their partners will ever know.

Caddy Rowland is a novelist and painter. Her social media links follow.

To find out about her novels (including The Gastien Series, a story that begins with a bohemian artist in France) visit http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B005FW8BZE

Sign up for New Release Newsletter by Email: http://eepurl.com/rfjaX

Author Email: caddyauthor@yahoo.com

Twitter: @caddyorpims

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

A Day To Dream About (One in a Million Happens)

You know that rare, perfect day when everything in the cosmos just clicks and perfection happens? Doesn't happen often, but when it does, what magic. Our 4th of July was one of those perfect, halcyon days that I will remember forever.

We were supposed to go to the lake to be with Dave's relatives, but a variety of things kept us from going. Instead, we ended up here at home, and I'm so very, very thankful that we did. As most of you know by now, we are grandparents by love to the little next door neighbor boy named Gideon (yes, he is a little boy now, no longer a baby) and he sees us as such. Several times a week we are with him, and we are much richer for it.

Anyway, Jen and Shon (his parents), Dave, and I spent the 4th together. It was a hot day, so we ended up in the pool. How Gideon loves to splash! His happy, rich belly laugh filled the backyard and all of us were held under his spell of toddler magic as he kicked and laughed and splashed and played. That boy is a child of the water. Grandma is so glad!

Then we parted ways to eat and get ready for the evening. We were going to see if Gideon would stay up long enough to watch a fireworks show. We got to the Oakdale MN event at about 9pm and The Rockin' Hollywoods were playing 60's music and other hits. It drew a good crowd, but it was a far different crowd than one finds at the larger get-togethers.

This crowd was about family, about having a good, peaceful time, and about respecting others. No one was drunk. No one was looking for a fight. No one was posturing or trying to pick up a one night stand. Most people had children and everyone smiled at each other. It didn't matter your age, race, or gender. It was a truly a beautiful thing. We also noticed that the food was reasonably priced, so that families could actually afford to eat there. Burgers? $3. Hot dog? $2 Beer? $3 There was a wide variety of foods and none would break the budget.

Gideon ran, played, got a star wand that lit up and thrilled him, danced with Grandma. At 10 o'clock we settled on the blanket to watch the fireworks. Gideon looked over at Grandpa and declared that he wanted to sit by him. At not quite 23 months, this kid can TALK. He uses all kinds of words most two-year-olds don't pronounce yet and some sentences. So, over to Grandpa he went, where he sat without moving for about a half hour. He leaned back against Dave's chest and crossed his little arms behind his head and grooved on the first fireworks show of his young life.

He wasn't scared. In fact, he clapped at times, named colors, and after each one would exclaim "Uhm, Uhm. He sounded like an old southern nanny! I told him the Grand Finale was coming up and he started yelling "Finale!" When it happened he was starstruck. Afterward, he yelled out, "Again!"

Here's the deal: Before the fireworks had even started, Jen looked at me and said it was the best 4th of July in her life. Funny thing was, I had just been gazing at the four of them and thinking that it was one of those moments in time that I would look back on as perfect, a snapshot I would treasure always. When I die, I hope that day is something I get to remember before I go.

Five regular people, 3 different generations, all feeling healthy, happy, and nothing happened to irritate any of us or take the shine off the day. It was like a blanket of fairy dust and had been sprinkled on us and the universe had said: "This. This is why you come here."

I couldn't agree more. And If I never have another day this perfect again, I will be forever grateful that I had this one. This one, my friends, was one in a billion. This one I wouldn't trade for all the money or fame in the world. This one was just for us five.

Caddy Rowland is a novelist and painter. Her social media links follow.
To find out about her novels (including The Gastien Series, a story that begins with a bohemian artist in France) visit http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B005FW8BZE
Sign up for New Release Newsletter by Email: http://eepurl.com/rfjaX
Author Email: caddyauthor@yahoo.com
Twitter: @caddyorpims