As I sit here getting ready to release the fourth novel in The Gastien Series, I find myself thinking about the fifth – and final – story that will complete the Beauchamp family’s circle of destiny. Of course, because it’s a circle, the ending is very much tied to the beginning. On and on and on I go, feeling dizzy in the process. Those circles tend to do that.
I feel so light! My computer screen has disappeared, and I find myself back in nineteenth century Montmartre. This isn’t where I am supposed to be! After all, the last book starts in 1948, right smack in the middle of the twentieth century. Also, I’m dressed very inappropriately for the period. In old paint splattered exercise pants and an equally splattered purple t-shirt, I definitely don’t look like any Parisian woman walking around in the late 1800’s.
It also seems I am at a cabaret: Au Lapin Agile to be exact. It’s crowded with men who appear to be either wagoneers (and those knives they slam into the tabletop next to them don’t do anything to help with my comfort) or artists. I assume they are artists, since they are even more paint splattered than me. The room is blue with smoke, and I cough loudly. All eyes turn toward me. It appears that – not only is my dress inappropriate – I’m the only female in the room!
What the hell. I order an absinthe. If I’m going to be hanging out in the cabaret all of the Impressionists frequent, I might as well indulge in their favorite drink of choice. I order another. Then another. Pretty soon I’m spinning again, but this time I know the reason for it. I am quite blasted!
“You really threw Gastien to the wolves when you sent him to Paris, you know. No safety net, no anything. Makes me wonder how much you cared for him, after all.”
I jump, looking up into the blue eyes of Gastien’s best ami, Mic. I know it’s Mic because of the red gold hair and the mutton chop sideburns. Besides, I created him, so I should know him when I see him.
“Mic?” I ask stupidly. Um, duh, oh woman of words.
Laughing, he says, “Oui, but you know that. I’m just giving you a hard time, you know. I mean, sending a poor farm boy to Paris with no possible way to go back is pretty harsh. Giving him the dream to paint but not allowing him formal training is even worse. Have you no mercy?”
“Well, yes, but this is supposed to be a drama, dear. Besides, I knew he was going to meet you. You would teach him everything he needed to know. The rest was deep inside of him, just waiting for you to bring it out.”
Mic downs his own absinthe. “True enough. Still, you were taking a real chance. You know, the first time I saw Gastien was through a restaurant window. I was showing my latest painting to a group of amies and, all of a sudden, there he was. This peasant boy with huge eyes was peering through the window at me, and for the life of me he couldn’t have looked more out of place. The fear in those beautiful eyes made my heart break. He was trying to appear so nonchalant! Mon dieu, that huge tarp on his back! He looked every bit the farmer he was; like a ragamuffin. I almost laughed out loud at the ridiculous sight of him there in one of the most sophisticated neighborhoods of Paris.”
“That would have been even crueler,” I snapped.
“I said almost. What stopped me were those eyes. As I looked into those eyes I realized that the best ami I could ever hope to have was standing out there. He seemed to be pleading with me. He didn’t even know what he was asking me for yet, and neither did I. But I knew we would be inseparable.”
“Yet you let him walk away that night.”
“Let him? I was motioning him in, when he turned and hurried away. I realized that he was ashamed because he probably had no money to come in and join us. So, oui, I let him walk away. Sometimes the only thing a man has left is his pride.”
“Well, I’m glad you made friends with him the next time you saw him.”
“Me, too. Gastien had many warts, but no one could match him in desire, drive, and raw talent. That man could paint! I had thought I was one of the best, but Gastien would eventually put me to shame. What a way with color!”
We sit in companionable silence while Mic orders another round. When the green poison arrives, he looks at me intently.
“I have always wanted to ask, what exactly happened that night? What happened that finally gave him what he wanted, but broke something valuable deep inside him for the rest of his life? Please, what all happened?”
“That was Gastien’s story to tell. He chose not to share it, at least not out loud. I think you have some idea.”
“Well, oui, but – “
“Take that and multiply it by five. Once you do, you’ll understand the high price he paid to paint in freedom, without worrying about living in the streets again. You know what happened, Mic. It didn’t have to be said. Ultimately, it made no difference. You still loved him. You stood by him his whole life.”
Again, silence. Finally, he lifts his glass, saluting me.
“To Gastien. He had his faults, but he was the most dynamic man I’ve ever known. I consider it a great honor that you allowed me to be his best ami.”
“You were a wonderful best friend, Mic. I’m thankful you rose to the challenge. Some readers have said you qualify for sainthood.”
Mic laughed softly. “Sainthood? Hardly. Neither Gastien nor I would qualify as saints. Regardless, we sure did have some fun. And we sure did paint. Man, did we paint.” He downed his drink once again. “You better leave, dear. You’re dressed very inappropriately for a lady. I would hate to see those wagoneers get any ideas.”
I open my mouth to speak, but he is gone. So is the cabaret. Looking down, I see I am once again at my computer. I must have fallen asleep. Then, as I begin typing, I notice a glass. The glass; it is very old. It also has green liquid in it. And, man, do I reek of smoke
Caddy Rowland grew up in the Midwest with a stack of books that almost reached the ceiling before she was five. Books, along with her vivid imagination, have always been her closest friends.
She lives in Minnesota with her husband, who was her high school sweetheart. They are owned by two parrots. Yes, they can talk, and yes, they can bite! Melanie, the African Grey has such an extensive vocabulary that Caddy sometimes thinks Melly is preparing to become an author.
After over 20 twenty years in advertising sales, Caddy decided to pursue her childhood dream of becoming an author in 2011. There are five books planned for the Gastien series, and many other books in her head. Now, if only she can learn to type 2000 words a minute…
Her goal as an author is to make readers laugh, cry, think, and become intimately connected with her main characters. To her, a good main character stays in the mind long after the story has been read. They should become as real in the mind as the person next door.
Caddy’s novels showcase the sublime joy and bitter tragedy of being human.
Caddy is also an artist. See some of her artwork [HERE]
Sign up for new book release information [HERE]
Paperback: 492 pages
Adult fiction for men and women over age 18
When young Gastien Beauchamp flees the farm for Paris, the late nineteenth century bohemian era is in full swing. Color has always called to him, beseeching him to capture it on canvas and show people a new way of seeing things. His father belittled his dream of being an artist and tried to beat him into giving it up. The dream wouldn’t die, but Gastien would have had he not left.
He also yearns to become a great lover. After the years of anguish he has endured at the hand of his father, it would be heaven to feel pleasure instead of pain.
However, the city of Paris has a ruthless agenda. Unless a man has money and connections, Paris unfeelingly crushes dreams and destroys souls. With neither of the required assets, Gastien faces living in alleys, digging in trash bins for food, and sleeping where a man is often killed for his threadbare blanket.
Left with nothing but his dreams, Gastien clings to the hope that the impossible is possible. He pushes on, regardless of the cost.
First Fourth-Wall Friday of 2013 Thanks Caddy for helping wrap up my first week of 2013! CHEERS! Green Fairies are festive eh?
Did any of you have a favorite Fourth-Wall this year? Let me know below!
Ever wonder what happens if you were to break into your world build and sit down and have a beer with? I think I would love to have tea with Jane Eyre, or discuss the best way to take care of vampires with Jane Yellowstone…maybe having Susie Shotgun take me out for some Angels Tears.
Interested in being part of Cabin Goddess’ Fourth-Wall Friday?
Allow yourself as an author to open up a new avenue of sharing your AUTHOR PERSONA & WORLD BUILD in a unique and creative fashion.. Just take a chance, write fluidly and from within that “place” you hangout at with your muse when you are writing. Or perhaps walk in the door, tuck into a corner & watch your characters, or talk with them…
Now Open! Sign ups for 2013 – If you are an author and are interested in having your own experience with the wandering, eavesdropping Cabin Goddess and break through your own Fourth-Wall, Fill out the form and sign up for a date. Currently am accepting dates for 2013. I hope everyone takes time peruse the archives and find out just what other authors have done.
- Friday Fun with Caddy Rowland (girl-who-reads.com)
- Weekend in Paris (antheaandfriends.wordpress.com)
- Vintage French Typography Nest of Tables (rusticboutique.com.au)
- Croissants, Crepes, Culture: Week 11 (rebeccajaeger.wordpress.com)