Saturday, June 29, 2013

Chapter 2 of Gabriel's Redemption: Your Thoughts?





Great news! SR has posted Chapter 2 of Gabriel's Redemption on his website.

Remember if you pre-order Gabriel's Redemption you can receive some special goodies from Gabriel. Please visit here for more information.

And, if you need links to place your order for Gabriel's Redemption, you can access them here.



Now on to the new chapter...

When last we left The Professor, he was in the orchard and naked with his Beloved.

And we were speculating over the potential implications in the narrative between Gabriel and Julia.

Let's continue the discussion here...

Jenn

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Meet the Mods, Part 2


Hello everyone! Welcome to the second installment of Meet the Mods, where we introduce the wonderful people who support SR by managing Argyle Empire Twitter accounts from all over the world.

Say hello to LT (SRFansOz),  Dympna (SRFansEire), and Ninoshka (SRFansChile)...

LT


One of Australia's most famous citizens makes a fashion statement

Our lovely lady from Futureland is a quiet and private Aussie who credits SR and the fellowship of Muses with changing her life - making her a kinder, more compassionate and understanding person.




Dympna

A beautiful Irish lass. She *could* be Dympna...

Hey y'all! I'm Dympna, the moderator of SRFansEire.  I'm a teacher and I love to read, travel and bake. I've fallen for The Professor since the first time we met back in July 2012, and I've been a supporter of SR ever since!  I love getting lost in a good book, entering another world and becoming infatuated with it and its inhabitants. When I do (very often these days), everything else ceases to exist around me.


Ninoska




Our lovely Ninoshka
Hola Querida Familia!
Soy Ninoshka (@ninoshkagodoy) moderadora de @SRFansChile la última cuenta en unirse a la familia SR aunque solo tenemos 6 meses online estamos muy orgullosos por la acogida que ha tenido la Saga Gabriel porque desde su llegada se ha posicionado en los 10 libros más leídos llegando la última entrega; El Extasis de Gabriel al quinto puesto a solo 2 semanas de su puesta en venta.

Tengo 28 años soy estudiante de Licenciatura Literatura y lengua Hispánica, además de estudiar pedagogía. Soy asistente de la catedra de Literatura hispanoamericana colonial. Pero no todo es estudio en mi vida, también escribo, me gusta mucho hacerlo -y según dicen mis amigos no lo hago del todo mal.-
Como buena estudiante de literatura soy amante de la lectura en el último verano leí más de 120 libros entre ellos El Infierno de Gabriel, el cual se ganó un lugar en mi corazón desde el día 1



English Version

Hello Dear Family,
I’m  Ninoshka (@ninoshkagodoy), @SRFansChile’s moderator and the most recent account to join SR’s family.  Although we have  only six months online, we are very proud of the reception given to Gabriel’s Inferno and Gabriel’s Rapture because since their arrival,they have been positioned in the top 10 most popular books - reaching the final installment; Gabriel’s Rapture to fifth in just two weeks of its release.

I’m 28 years old; I am a student of Bachelor Hispanic Literature and language, in addition to studying pedagogy. I’m assistant to the chair of colonial Spanish American Literature. But all is not study in my life, I write, I like to do it, and according to my friends I do not do it entirely wrong. As a good student of literature I love reading. Last summer I read over 120 books including Gabriel's Inferno, which earned a place in my heart from day one.







Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Why did Gabriel select Puccini’s Madame Butterfly?


Hello Everyone,

We are pleased to share another special guest post with you today.

Terry, whom you probably know as @Terry the Nurse on Twitter, is indeed a nurse, though she also has a degree in History and a graduate degree in Human Communication.

As some of you may know, Terry has been in the hospital this past week, but she submitted this piece before she was admitted. Please send her your good thoughts as she recovers from surgery.

Previously, Terry shared her thoughts on Abelard and Heloise and their place in the story of Gabriel and Julia.  The response to her pieces was enthusiastic and we're thrilled she is able to share more of her insights on Gabriel's Inferno.

Enjoy and Take Care,
Jenn


“YOU are not Pinkerton!” 
Madame Butterfly, Paulina, and Gabriel’s Inferno (Chapter 31)

Julia knew that something was wrong, and it wasn’t solely because she could hear the strains of Puccini’s Madame Butterfly wafting from the living room….”

“…. Julia demanded that he silence Maria Callas so that they could talk.”

Sylvain Reynard, Gabriel’s Inferno



In this post, I thought I would change gears a little bit, and discuss an important classical music reference that is found in one of the most painful chapters of Gabriel’s Inferno.  You might recall that in chapter 31, Gabriel and Julia are getting ready to go to Florence. Gabriel knows that it’s time (far past time, really) for his confession about Paulina, for his explanation of the tattoo above his heart, and what the name Maia means to him and will soon mean to Julia. When Julia arrives at his apartment, Gabriel is at his worst: emotionally cold, drinking heavily, and avoiding eye contact.  And, the music he’s listening to? Puccini’s Madame Butterfly...

Why did SR choose Madame Butterfly for Gabriel to listen to on such a painful occasion? After all, there are so many beautiful and melodic operas that SR might have chosen.  What is it about Madame Butterfly (sung with passion by the great Maria Callas) that makes the moment so painful and revealing? What should not be a surprise by now is that it is there for a reason, or so I suggest.

There’s significance to this magnificent opera as it connects to the story of Gabriel and Paulina. In fact, I hope after you read this post, you will feel just a little more sympathetic toward her character and understand why it is  yet another hidden gem and a way for SR to emphasize Gabriel’s guilt through Puccini’s haunting music and operatic narrative (known as the libretto.) There’s a parallel here that will grab your heart – I promise. Remember that Gabriel was consumed with pain and guilt over what happened with Paulina and Maia, and fear that he would lose Julia after he explained what happened. And why does Julia try so hard to reassure Gabriel that (he) “is not Pinkerton?” Who was Pinkerton, and what did he do?

For those not familiar with opera Madame Butterfly, I want to provide you with a brief summary. For a full summary provided by the New York Metropolitan Opera, go here.

The tragic story takes place in Japan at the turn of the 20th century. Cio-Cio-San is a geisha known as Butterfly.  She meets an American naval lieutenant, B.F. Pinkerton, whose goal is to sail the world looking for pleasure, sexual and otherwise. Butterfly falls in love with him and they marry, although unbeknownst to her, Pinkerton does not take the marriage seriously and plans to marry an American woman upon his return to the USA.  The couple spends a few romantic nights together, and then Pinkerton leaves to join his ship. Butterfly is so convinced that they will have a life together that she converts to Christianity to reinforce to Pinkerton how much she loves him.

Three years pass. Butterfly is waiting for Pinkerton to return to her while she raises their son who is now three years old. Everyone around Butterfly is convinced that Pinkerton will never return, but Butterfly has faith that he loves her and will be happy to hear that they have a son (prophetically named “Trouble.”) She feels sure that he will return to her.

The day comes when Pinkerton’s ship returns to the harbor, and Butterfly excitedly makes preparations to see him. When he arrives, he is accompanied by his American wife, Kate, and Butterfly realizes that the life she thought she’d have with him was nothing more than a fantasy. Heartbroken and shamed, Butterfly says farewell to her son and commits hari-kari,  the Japanese tradition of honor suicide. As the curtain drops, the audience hears Pinkerton offstage calling her name in torment and grief.

When I first read Inferno, I was so caught up in the story that I didn’t quite make the connection, although I have always loved this opera. After a few re-reads, I had an “aha” moment.  Julia does her best to convince Gabriel that “he’s not Pinkerton.” Perhaps… but Butterfly certainly represents Paulina. I think the parallels are unmistakable.

Paulina was Butterfly. True, The Professor didn’t promise her a marriage or a life together, but he didn’t exactly discourage her either. As cool and condescending as Paulina was externally, she was fragile and desperate for him within. Like Butterfly who loved Pinkerton intensely and waited years for him, Paulina loved Gabriel just as passionately and hoped he would return to her. And like Pinkerton who treated Butterfly horribly, Gabriel (as Julia accuses him in Rapture) “fed her scraps” and led her on just enough to keep her hopeful. And we know how he treated Paulina when she told him she was pregnant. Although Butterfly’s attempt at suicide was successful, remember that Paulina also attempted suicide shortly after her miscarriage.  Both Pinkerton and Gabriel are wracked with guilt when they come to terms with the eventual outcomes of their sins.

So, imagine this scene. Gabriel is in psychic agony. He knows he has run out of time, and he must tell Julia a secret about his past that has haunted him for years, slowly eating away at his soul.  I imagine him walking around his apartment without purpose, with a glass of Laphroaig in his hand.  He is sweaty, pale, unshaven, and scared.  His hair is messy, his eyes red behind his glasses. Wallowing in guilt and shame, he is convinced that he will lose Julia once the secret is revealed. And THIS haunting, sad, and celebrated aria is playing in the background. The aria, sung by the remarkable Maria Callas as Butterfly, yearns for “Un bel di vedremo” (or, “One fine day we will see”) when Pinkerton will return to her and make her life complete. As Paulina did with Gabriel… and more than anyone, it is Gabriel who knows that. It is no wonder that he is listening to Madame Butterfly – in so many ways, he knows that he and Pinkerton have too much in common, and that he has caused Paulina terrible sadness. In listening to Butterfly, he is remembering and acknowledging Paulina’s pain. We know that Gabriel eventually found his redemption. Did Pinkerton?

I realize that opera (like expensive Scotch) is an acquired taste. Still, I am going to encourage you to listen to this aria while you read the chapter again -- your heart will break for everyone concerned – Gabriel, Paulina, Julia, Pinkerton, and Butterfly. (Parenthetically, you will need some tissues, too.)  I think you will feel Gabriel’s pain and anguish in a deeper way because that is where the music brings you. And, perhaps you will better appreciate Paulina’s despair and loneliness for Gabriel, as well as her hopelessness. She is not an unsympathetic character in the story. The voice and the music have a special way of not only accentuating the emotions, but personalizing it as well. I chose two videos to provide you with some scenes that better illustrate my summary of the opera as well as the parallels in these two romantic but tragic love stories. As SR often says: “Take time for beauty.” When you let the music wash over you, it is indeed lovely.

What do you think? Was Julia correct? Or, is Gabriel a modern day Pinkerton?


  Maria Callas

To watch and hear Madame Butterfly in its entirety, go HERE.

Or, to see and listen to key scenes from a more modern version (including the fantastic finale that will give you goose bumps) as performed by Patricia Racette of the New York Metropolitan Opera, go here.

For a multi-part documentary about the fascinating and operatic diva Maria Callas, go here to learn why she is considered the greatest operatic voice of the 20th century.

To read more about Giacomo Puccini, go to PBS here.

*************************************************************************************

As always, thank you to SR for your brilliant writing, and to you, his readers!! <3 p="">
~~ Terry


Monday, June 24, 2013

An Invitation From THESUBCLUBBooks Blog




Hello everyone Neda here from SRFans Canada...

I also moderate and review over at THESUBCLUBbooks blog.  We have a great opportunity happening on the blog involving SR, Gabriel, Paul, and SN that we wanted to share with all the wonderful fans of the series...YOU!

Please take a look at the link below and ask away.

http://wp.me/p2Es5p-3zb

Much Love

Neda.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Meet the Mods

Welcome to the first in a series of posts to introduce you to the moderators of the Argyle Empire. Each of these wonderful people manages an SRFans Twitter account for a country where SR's books are available.

Today, we'll meet Gel, Sheila, and Tina.


Gel


One of Gel's many fine creations

Hello peeps! I'm Gel and I moderate @SRFansFilipino, and it's an honor to be here. :) I wanted to say that I'm the Number 1 fan of SR but of course a lot won't concur with that. So I'd rather say the Gabriel series is my TOP favorite book, and SR is my Number 1 favorite author.

A tidbit about myself: I'm a mother and wife; I have learned to romanticize my domesticated life for 5 years now since I used to work from home too; I love to travel and I love books. I write from time to time but I do not consider myself a poet; it's just me when I'm rambling.

I am so happy to be part of this beautiful family. I am also part of a fab team: Bookish Temptations (  http://bookishtemptations.com/ )  It's amazing because I get to promote more of GI&GR from there.

I got to know GI&GR from Neda's review on the Bookish Temptations blog. That was me getting lost and looking for a new read after Fifty. Since Neda's too good on book reviews, I immediately got my copy and read both books in no time. And those sleepless nights were worth it. ;) I was so hooked and learned that SR is on Twitter, and I landed into these fabulous and gorgeous ladies (Argyle team and the other SR accounts) and the rest, as they say, is history. *wink wink*

x gel


Sheila

London's famous Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament


I'm Sheila, moderator for @SRFansUK.

I worked in radio and for a national/international media company before I became a lady of leisure and very mature student.

I live in northwest England, close to the Lake District (think Wordsworth, Coleridge, Southey et. al.).

Being an SRFans moderator is fun for me as it means I get to help promote fantastic books by a super author. Also, I've 'met' lots of like-minded people who've become friends.

Thanks, and to everyone: let's enjoy the ride!



Tina

Bran Castle in Romania

I'm Tina, moderator for @SRFansRomania, one of the recent additions to the family of SR fans.

Five years ago, we packed our life and dreams in eight suitcases and moved to Canada.  I'm working in finance for a municipality in Ontario. I love to travel, dance and read. I've been blessed with two beautiful children: Alexandra, my 15 year-old daughter, and Daniel, my 14 year-old son. They are the light of my life.

I re-started reading about a year ago (settling into our new life took a while). I've been reading like crazy, until Gabriel's Inferno stopped me in my tracks. Something shifted inside of me. I felt I needed to get involved and help promote Sylvain Reynard's work. My dream is to hold in my hands the Romanian edition of Gabriel's Inferno.

Thank you everyone for your help and warm welcome.

Hugs,

Tina

Romanian

Buna, sunt Tina administrez contul SR pentru Romania (@SRFansRomania).

Acum cinci ani ne-am impachetat viata si visele in opt valize si ne-am mutat in Canada. Lucrez in finante pentru municipalitatea din orasul in care locuiesc. Pasiunile mele sunt calatoriile, dansul si cartile. Am doi copii Alexandra (15 ani) si Daniel (14 ani), care sunt lumina ochilor mei.

Am re-inceput din nou sa citesc in urma cu un an (a durat ceva sa ne asezam in noua viata). Am citit neincetat pana cand Gabriel's Inferno m-a fermecat si am simtit ca trebuie sa stiu mai multe despre autor. Asa am hotarat ca sa ajut cu ce pot la promovarea muncii lui Sylvain Reynard. Sper ca intr-o zi sa tin in mana, editia in limba romana a Gabriel's Inferno.

Multumesc tuturor pentru ajutor si incurajari,

Tina

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Guest Post: Margie compares Prof. Emerson to Mr. Darcy

Hello Everyone,

Today's post was submitted by Margie, who you may know as the administrator of the very popular Professor Gabriel O. Emerson Fanpage on Facebook. She shared a guest post with us during our recent fundraiser for the American Red Cross/One Boston Fund, and we were happy when she agreed to share her thoughts on how much the Professor and Mr. Darcy have in common.

We've been happy to hear from several of SR's readers who were willing to share their views on the Gabriel series.  If you'd like to submit a post for consideration, please feel free to email jenn@argyleempire.com.

In the meantime, sit back and enjoy Margie's fun and informative piece and, if possible, leave a comment below.

Thanks and enjoy!

Take Care,
Jenn

~~~~~~~~~

As an avid reader, you know how easy it is to fall in love with characters that live in books.  I fall in love with new characters constantly, almost every day, but never like this.  I fell in love with Gabriel Emerson so hard, I was head over heels! There are only two characters I have ever given my heart and soul to and they are Mr. Darcy & Edward Cullen.  Then I met Gabriel Owen Emerson and I was toast! I became obsessed. Really obsessed. I read this book over and over when it finally hit me, “OMG!  He IS Mr. Darcy!!!!!”

I would like to show you a few parallels I found in Gabriel’s Inferno and Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice!

This post will be rather informal and mostly in pictures! (I made these pictures for our Fanpage in January when Pride & Prejudice celebrated its 200th Anniversary, because I am a Jane Austen FREAK!)


First of all Gabriel is an arrogant, selfish man. Well, so is the haughty Mr. Darcy!



 • Both men claim to be very selfish, yet they do nice things for others without the need to publicize their generosity.  Gabriel gives Rachel money to buy Julia a new bag and doesn’t want her to know it is from him. In addition to that he buys her clothes and gives her the bursary so she would not have to struggle as much and go without things she may need.  Mr. Darcy goes out of his way to help Elizabeth too.  He makes sure her little sister is taken care of after she runs off and elopes with his enemy Wickham.  He takes matters into his own hands and pays Wickham off to marry Lydia that way the other Bennett girls will not have to live in shame and be ruined because of the actions of their little sister.  He never tells Elizabeth of his involvement but like Julia the ladies eventually find out who is behind the anonymous generosity.

In the beginning of Gabriel’s Inferno, Gabriel shames Julia for being poor. In her apartment he asks her “Why do you live here?” All the while making mental notes in his head about how unsatisfactory Julia’s little apartment was, “trying for her sake to hide his distaste.” He even noted how she had no place to hang his Burberry coat!  Poor Julia is humiliated; she has nowhere else to go. There is a very famous scene in P&P when Mr. Darcy proposes to Elizabeth and tells her that he loves her despite everything that is wrong with her situation, “Could you expect me to rejoice in the inferiority of your connections? To congratulate myself on the hope of relation, whose condition in life is so decidedly beneath my own?” They both show actions that are very arrogant toward the women they love. But both are more than willing to eat humble pie to make up for their rude behavior later in the story.



They adore their little sister 



Both men are orphans and inherited a lot of money from their biological parents. Darcy losing his parents at a young age left him to raise Georgiana.  This situation makes the siblings very close. “He is certainly a good brother. And this is always the way with him.  Whatever can give his sister pleasure is sure to be done in a moment.  There is nothing he would not do for her.” (P&P pg.162)

Gabriel was an orphan and adopted into a good and loving family. Gabriel loves his feisty little sister Rachel the way Darcy loves his baby sister Georgina.  He also sees to it to keep his sister happy, “He didn’t relish spending an evening with both of them, but his sister was suffering at the moment, and he wasn’t about to do anything to add to her suffering.” (GI pg. 43)

Both girls bring out compassion and the heart in their brothers. Darcy doesn’t have a brother but he does have a cousin Col. Fitzwilliam which to me plays the Scott role in Gabriel’s Inferno.  Darcy is jealous of the easy way Col. Fitzwilliam has with Elizabeth as Gabriel is a bit put off with how well Scott and Julia get along. Scott knows Julia and has seen her grow up.


One of my favorite things about Gabriel and Darcy is the way they watch their beloved.  They stare at the then with such intensity it makes me tingle all over!



Both men were so head over heels in love before they even realized what in the world was going on. I love that sooooo much.  And they were not afraid to go and tell their lady loves just how much they wanted them. They both basically say “you either want me now or never.”  Luckily both ladies loved their grumpy beaus with just as much passion and agreed to be with them.

Both Darcy and Gabriel have no problem admitting their faults to Julia and Lizzie and they apologize when they are wrong.  They own up to their shortcomings and try to work on them for the betterment of their relationships.



I love the Dante Seminar fight in Gabriel’s Inferno.  It reminds me of the first proposal Mr. Darcy makes to Elizabeth.  The dialogue in both scenes is of them flinging insults at each other all the while pining away for one another.  After all, there is a thin line between love and hate. The arguments in both books are a few pages long and do a great job of building the longing both couples face when trying to win the love of the other.  I LOVE IT!!!!

Another scene I think is super sweet is when Gabriel finds Julia in his carrel.  She is embarrassed and he does everything he can to reassure her that he is happy she is there and it is not a problem for him.  A similar situation occurs in P&P when Elizabeth and Aunt and Uncle are visiting Pemberley at a time they are sure Mr. Darcy is away.  Meanwhile Mr. Darcy comes home early and finds Elizabeth at his home.  She is embarrassed and he also does everything he can to reassure her that her visit is a pleasant and welcome surprise and tries to make her comfortable.



There is a lot of Elizabeth Bennett in Julia Mitchell as well. Both are smart young women. They both love to read!  They have fathers who adore them. They are kind girls who try to find the goodness in everyone they met.  Yet, they are feisty when they need to be and I can safely say that they both fit Lady Catherine’s description of the “Obstinate headstrong girl.”  When they fell in love with their prospective suitors, nothing or no one stood in their way of happiness. I think both heroines are good role models for young women because they do not mindlessly follow what other people tell them to do, they do what they feel is right for them.



No story would be complete without the rival girl trying to break our love birds apart and while Gabriel’s Inferno has Paulina, Pride & Prejudice has Caroline Bingley.  Both ladies think they have rights to the men because of past experiences and family connections. Paulina & Caroline are similar in ways that their vanity and entitlement cause them to think poorly of those they feel are beneath them. Both are jealous and deceitful women with their sights solely to try and break the couples apart.

I hope you have enjoyed my Gabriel and Mr. Darcy comparisons.  Both are the most beautiful characters and both stories are timeless.  I feel Gabriel’s Inferno reads like a classic novel, so perfectly like poetry.  It is beautiful.  I know that Gabriel and his Julia will live on as a classic literary couple much like my Darcy and his Elizabeth.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Charity Tuesday: Autism Speaks




Hello Everyone,

As we all know, spotlighting charities and worthwhile causes is important to SR.

As a group, Elli, Coco, Sere and I are also dedicated to promoting these endeavors. Therefore, we are happy to share a weekly series of posts in order to take a more in-depth look at the various charitable organizations highlighted by SR. You can find a complete list of these charities on our blog by clicking on the "About the Charities" header.

Today's post was submitted by Efrat and we thank her for sharing her personal experiences with Argyle Empire.

We hope you will find the information in these posts informative and educational.  If you have a particular cause that is close to your heart or you have personal experiences with any of the charities we spotlight, please feel free to contact us about it.

~~~~~~~~~

Autism Speaks

Mission Statement: 

At Autism Speaks, our goal is to change the future for all who struggle with autism spectrum disorders.

We are dedicated to funding global biomedical research into the causes, prevention, treatments, and cure for autism; to raising public awareness about autism and its effects on individuals, families, and society; and to bringing hope to all who deal with the hardships of this disorder. We are committed to raising the funds necessary to support these goals.

Autism Speaks aims to bring the autism community together as one strong voice to urge the government and private sector to listen to our concerns and take action to address this urgent global health crisis. It is our firm belief that, working together, we will find the missing pieces of the puzzle.

Autism Speaks. It's time to listen.

Website: www.autismspeaks.org
Twitter: @autismspeaks


My son was diagnosed with Autism about 2 years ago. For a parent, this is a devastating condition, and extremely heartbreaking. Many of you are parents, so you can imagine how heart-wrenching it is when your own child doesn’t communicate with you, is lagging in development, and his/her future as an independent adult becomes questionable. The parental worries of parents to an Autistic child are very different, and stretch far beyond those of parents with neuro-typical children. It’s a situation that is inherent, obsessive and all-consuming, and exposes the entire family to immeasurable stress. The life of such a family revolves around that child, and in most cases warrants the adoption of a completely different and demanding lifestyle that includes a different diet, extensive therapy sessions, adaptive speech, advocacy, bio-medical issues, dealing with insurance… the list goes on.

It’s devastating. So many couples I know have divorced due to the stress of this harsh lifestyle. In fact, the divorce rate among families with Autism is more than double that of the national average.

It’s ironic, because these children are so incredibly special, but rarely viewed as such since they can’t always express themselves in language – some don’t talk at all, and some just don’t know what to say or how to say it. They are exceptionally bright and have so much love to give, with absolutely no judgment – something that most of us have shied away from, simply due to the way we have been socialized.

One significant emotion that many Autism parents suffer from, is how guilty they feel about their child’s situation – that they might have caused this condition, haven’t prevented it in time, bad genes... it’s haunting! And, guilt can be a dangerous thing. There’s nothing positive or motivating about it. It doesn’t stem from love, but from a sense of fear, belittlement and self-punishment. And it’s possessive too - you simply cannot get rid of it, and very quickly takes ownership of your soul.

For 2 years, I felt guilty; like I was responsible for my son’s situation, like I’ve damaged my own flesh and blood. And I beat myself up for that, while at the same time doing everything I could to prove that my son could be “fixed” (with therapy, bio-medical treatments etc.) – all so I could try and rid myself of this guilty feeling that relentlessly tortured me.

When I started reading Gabriel’s Inferno, I didn’t know quite what to expect, but I felt very attached to the words and the storyline.  Deep inside, I knew there was a reason why this book found me. Call it fate, I suppose, but at the time I couldn’t really explain it.

I did, though, relate very well to Gabriel’s character – the motivated, career-oriented individual that couldn’t stand mediocrity, and who felt he was a sinner beyond redemption. That was exactly how I felt – tortured by the thought that I was the one to bring Autism upon my son, and because of that, I was doomed to feel guilt my entire life for a sin I must have committed.

As my reading progressed, I realized there were also many similarities between Julia and my son – the strength, the humility, the innocence and above all - the pure soul and the endless love she has to give.

The more I thought about it, the more I could personally relate – Julia and Gabriel were an allegory to my son and me, as we too share a very special bond forged by a different kind of love than Gabriel and Julia enjoy, but one no less powerful.

In one of SR’s interviews, he said that “this society lives on two major lies – one, that you can be perfect, and the other that your imperfections will damn you to a miserable life. But, we all have our faults and imperfections, and the key is to overcome those with grace; grace being a key element to redemption.”

These two lines really hit home for me, and that’s when I understood what that special connection with the book was. With this quote and throughout the course of my reading, I’ve realized that love in itself has the power to heal, and redemption for me was possible.

So when I let go of my false sense of control over my son’s condition and started to focus on the unconditional love and affection I gave him (and gave more of it), a miracle happened – he began to flourish! He started talking more, becoming more social and a lot more aware – as if a part of him was healing from the Autism!

At the same time, I started feeling less and less guilty, and with every passing day, I regained a bit of my life and vitality back.

It’s been a journey, and took some time, but I’m a different person now.  I must say that I don’t feel guilty anymore, and we’re both a whole lot more peaceful and happy – as individuals and as a family.

Gabriel’s Inferno has been a very substantial part of this healing process. I feel I owe a great deal to SR for writing a beautiful story with such a powerful message, and one that to me, was a mirror to my soul and my relationship with my son. SR taught me through his books that there really is a way to heal, and that way is through love.

I was even more excited when I suggested to SR that he support an Autism charity and he so kindly agreed to support ‘Autism Speaks.’ Every time ‘Autism Speaks’ is highlighted, I am deeply honored, and also very happy as I know this awareness will have a ripple effect that will make the life of my son and other children with Autism a whole lot better.

My son is a lot better now. By no means is he equal to his neuro-typical peers, but he’s getting there and I’m seeing a light at the end of the tunnel. I now know he’ll be ok, because all he needs is much love, support, compassion and understanding.

So, thank you, SR. Thank you for being the kind soul that you are; for keeping us all intellectually stimulated, and for encouraging us all to be our best possible self.

And to all the Autism parents (and to everyone, really) – Love! Love with all your heart, as it will heal you from the inside out.

The way I see it, with 1:88 children on the Autism spectrum (some say it’s actually 1:50 – that’s 2%!), and with SR’s 15,000 followers, there are bound to be about 300 that would immediately relate (but this is my analytical side talking ). If only one parent reads this and finds hope, I will be very grateful.

Thank you so much for the time to read this. It means a lot.

Cheers!
Efrat

Friday, June 14, 2013

Ordering Information for Gabriel's Redemption


Hello Everyone,

Each day on our Argyle Empire twitter feed, we run tweets of the various sites you can visit to pre-order Gabriel's Redemption.

We thought it might be convenient to post them here on the blog as well. If you know of a link that we're not currently using, please feel free to email me at jenn@argyleempire.com and I'll add it to the list.

We hope you find the information easy to access here. If so, be sure to share it with those who might be interested.

Thanks!

Take Care,
Jenn

PS If you happen to be an Irish reader and you are having troubling pre-ordering Gabriel's Redemption, please consider emailing Amazon US. Be sure to ask when the PenguinUK edition will be available on AmazonUS for Irish readers. The more emails Amazon receives, the more likely they are to fix the issue and put up a pre-order for you. Thanks! :)





Amazon links to Gabriel's Redemption:

Brazilian readers:
Kindle

Canadian readers:
Kindle
Paperback

French readers:
Kindle
Paperback

German/Austrian readers:
Paperback
Kindle

Italian readers:
Kindle

Spanish readers:
Kindle

UK readers:
Paperback
Kindle

US readers:
Paperback
Kindle

Other available links to Gabriel's Redemption:

Australian readers via fishpond:
Paperback

Australian readers via iTunes:
eBook

Canadian readers via iTunes:
eBook

US readers via iTunes:
eBook

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Another Forbidden Love: Abelard and Heloise and the Parallels to Gabriel’s Inferno and Rapture Part 2

Hello Everyone,

We are pleased to share another special guest post with you today.

Terry, whom you probably know as @Terry the Nurse on Twitter, is indeed a nurse, though she also has a degree in History and a graduate degree in Human Communication.

Last week, Terry shared her thoughts on Abelard and Heloise and their place in the story of Gabriel and Julia.  The response to her piece was enthusiastic and we're thrilled she is able to share more of her thoughts about the subject.

Enjoy and Take Care,
Jenn





Another Forbidden Love: Abelard and Heloise and the Parallels to Gabriel’s Inferno and Rapture

Part 2

In the study of historical literature, the letters of Heloise and Abelard are considered emotional and tragic epistolary exchanges between two doomed lovers who are forced to live chastely and apart for the majority of their lives, even after marrying and having a child together.  In my previous post, I provided some of the historical background. In this post, I will describe what I view as the parallels between SR’s characters in Inferno, Rapture (and, now Redemption), and my two favorite medieval lovers, as well as discuss the letters  for which they are so famous; the final letter of which is partially quoted in Rapture.

As we know, in several scenes of both books, Gabriel alludes that he already sees himself as Abelard, references that make Julia want to grind her teeth since they both construe Abelard’s actions differently.  Their different interpretations can be partially explained by the letters being originally written in Latin and having undergone numerous translations.  And, in contemplating meaning or significance, we interpret language from our inner selves, from our own experiences, and from our own perspectives. To me, it’s natural that Gabriel would be sympathetic to Abelard, and that Julia would be more appreciative of Heloise’s feelings of frustration and anger.

You may be surprised to discover that there are only eight published letters, lengthy as they may be. The exchange of letters began after both had been living in cloister for some time, and only occurred because Letter I (from Abelard to his friend Philintus) made its way to Heloise. These are not letters that are regularly exchanged – years passed between each letter.  They are not merely snapshots in time, but a true description of two unhappy people forced apart by circumstance. As readers, we can feel and sense their confusion, their sorrow, their irritation, their passion.

Heloise never wanted to be in the convent, nor was she “called” in any way. She remained there because she had no choice. Her love for Abelard remained passionate and undying:

“Yes, it was your command only, and not a false piety brings no peace or sincere vocation, which sent me into these cloisters; I sought to give you ease and not to sanctify myself. How unhappy am I! I tear myself from all that pleases me; I bury myself alive…” (Heloise, Letter IV.)

But Abelard’s responses seem to vacillate with push/pull messages which serve to anger Heloise – and, like Julia, she is nobody’s fool. In Letter III, he declares his passion for her:

My love burns fiercer amidst the happy indifference of those who surround me, and my heart is alike pierced with your sorrows and my own. Oh, what a loss have I sustained when I consider your constancy! What pleasures have I missed enjoying…

But later says to her:

If since our conversion from the world to God I have not yet written you any word of comfort or advice, it must not be attributed to indifference on my part but to your own good sense... I did not think you would need these things..."

Heloise, in anger, writes:

"But tell me whence proceeds your neglect of me since my being professed? You know nothing moved me to it but your disgrace, nor did I give my consent, but yours. Let me hear what is the occasion of your coldness, or give me leave to tell you now my opinion. Was it not the sole thought of pleasure which engaged you to me? And has not my tenderness, by leaving you nothing to wish for, extinguished your desires? Wretched Heloise! You could please when you wished to avoid it." (Letter II)

As you can see in these brief snippets, even though the letters were exchanged 800 years ago, their emotions and reactions are as fresh and contemporary as if they were written a decade ago. They are full of angst, devotion, anger, frustration, passion, and faith. You can read six of the letters in their entirety here. It is really the best way to appreciate the relationship and all that happened in it.

After all I’ve told you about Heloise and Abelard, I hope that you can now appreciate that there are some stunning similarities between these two couples; specifically between Abelard and Gabriel, but also between Julia and Heloise. Is it possible that SR wanted us to appreciate the parallels between the two brilliant but thwarted intellectuals to better understand Gabriel’s deep emotional conflicts? (Speaking for myself, I think that he did.)

Both are academicians; one who lived in the Middle Ages, and one who is a specialist in Dante, considered one of the greatest poets of the Middle Ages. With both men, the medieval period is prominent. And what was the name of the book Gabriel hid his message to Julia??
“Marriage in the Middle Ages: Love, Sex and the Sacred.”

Both lost a child; one through miscarriage, and the other by adoption, disgrace, and escape to religious life.

Both are unable to impregnate a woman after their lovers’ conceived the first and only time; one through castration, and the other through vasectomy.

Both find a sense of peace in religion; Gabriel by his extended visit with the Franciscans in Assisi, and Abelard who became an abbot at the Saint Gildas de Rhuys monastery. Neither remained there permanently.

Both return to teaching after a period of religious influences, and neither returns to their university of origin.

For both Gabriel and Abelard, they find their “bashert” in their most gifted student, and in both cases, there is a considerable age difference.

Both (for a time) question their relationship with God due to shame and self-loathing.  Abelard writes that he is aware that, according to the Old Testament (or Hebrew Bible), “eunuchs” (as castrated men were called) were not permitted in the Temple, which scripturally suggests how eunuchs were shunned.  Gabriel says, “I’m closer to a devil than an angel, and I’m beyond redemption because I’ve done unforgivable things.”

Both are in love with one woman while another professes her love for him. We already know the story of Paulina and Gabriel.  A maid named Agaton in Fulbert’s household was in love with Abelard while he was in a sexual relationship with Heloise.  She told him:

“I am in love with you, Abelard; I know you adore Heloise, and I do not blame you, I desire only to enjoy the second place in your affections. I have a tender heart as well as my mistress; you may without difficulty make returns to my passion. Do not perplex yourself with scruples; a prudent man should love several at the same time, then if one should fail he is not left unprovided “(Letter 1, Abelard to Philintus)

And like Paulina, Agaton’s response to unrequited love was ruthless and vengeful (read the first letter to find out what she did.)

Both are charismatic and irresistible to women, and display narcissistic behavior in their relationships with them. It’s fair to say that both are self-absorbed, unfamiliar with sexual rejection, and pretentious control freaks. Abelard’s need for control is evident in the Letters and his distasteful habit of frequently lecturing Heloise; Gabriel’s in his inability to allow Julia to make her own decisions. (Is it possible we will see more of this behavior in Gabriel’s Redemption??)

There are similarities between Julia and Heloise as well:

Both live with a single male family member who dislikes their choices; Julia lives with her father who dislikes Gabriel, Heloise with her uncle who (eventually) detests Abelard.

Both fall deeply, passionately, and irrevocably in love with their professors; both are well aware that a relationship would be considered forbidden.  Both witness their lovers’ professional humiliation following a scandal directly due to the relationship, and both are forced into circumstances that cause them pain, separation, and heartache.

Both feel abandoned, and both feel that Abelard and Gabriel’s positions as Professor were more important than they were --in both cases, they were wrong. Heloise paid a much higher price than Julia, however. Abelard eventually returned to teaching and became a hero of The Enlightenment, whereas Heloise remained in the convent for the rest of her life.

Both are constantly worried and insecure about how attractive their lovers’ are to other women.

o Julia to Gabriel: “I have to share you with your past – with Paulina, with Professor Singer, with Jamie Roberts – with countless other women I’m probably going to pass on the street in Toronto.”

o Heloise to Abelard: “When you appeared in public, who — I ask — did not hurry to catch a glimpse of you, or crane her neck and strain her eyes to follow your departure? Every wife, every young girl desired you in absence and was on fire in your presence; queens and great ladies envied me my joys and my bed.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Since first reading Gabriel’s Inferno upon its release in 2011, I have suggested to other readers and friends  that to fully appreciate the incredible beauty and complexity of SR’s writing, it’s worth it to become familiar with the hidden nuances and multi-layered references buried like gems throughout the books.  The literary, operatic, and artistic references are not only essential to the lovely story, but also provide an opportunity for us to learn more about the humanities -- which enrich our own lives in so many ways.   I hope these two posts have served that purpose for you in relation to Heloise and Abelard, and that you will want to read more about them.

If I have stimulated further interest, there are many academic resources on the Internet that you can refer to (NOT Wiki! :) ) Here are several:

To see Fordham University go here

To see Stanford University go here  here

Article: “Society as Portrayed by The Letters of Abelard and Heloise” go here 

To read Abelard’s “Confessions” from Fordham, go here

To read a great article in the NY Times Book Review about what might be newly found letters:  read Love Hurts

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Charity Tuesday: ACT (Against Child Trafficking)




Hello Everyone,

As we all know, spotlighting charities and worthwhile causes is important to SR.

As a group, Elli, Coco, Sere and I are also dedicated to promoting these endeavors. Therefore, we are happy to share a weekly series of posts in order to take a more in-depth look at the various charitable organizations highlighted by SR. You can find a complete list of these charities on our blog by clicking on the "About the Charities" header.

We hope you will find the information in these posts informative and educational.  If you have a particular cause that is close to your heart or you have personal experiences with any of the charities we spotlight, please feel free to contact us about it.

~~~~~~~~~

ACT (Against Child Trafficking)

Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=323710075670&ref=ts 

Twitter: @AChildTraffick

Mission Statement: 

ACT (Against Child Trafficking) is a volunteer based grassroots movement based in Australia influencing over 55,000 people worldwide.

We have no paid staff and we do not receive any funding nor intend to. Our role is to facilitate the resourcing of organisations at the forefront of combating child trafficking.

Child trafficking has a become an insidious rampant evil in the world today having now become the most lucrative organised crime activity on the planet. Help us stamp it out.


I'll be absolutely upfront and admit that the plight of human trafficking has only been on my radar for the past couple of years. I am woefully under-educated about this crime and have not participated with any charities that fight against it.  But this is a poor excuse.

During the past few weeks, the local news has been reporting on child trafficking within my home state and I've been truly appalled by the things I've discovered.

I'm practically embarrassed to admit that in my home state the crime of soliciting sex from a minor is a misdemeanor offense.  Anyone caught doing so serves little (if any) jail time and never has to register as a sex offender.  Last week, a bill was put before my state's legislature to change this.

I wish I could say that such lax policy is soon to be a thing of the past, but I was amazed to learn that this bill had to go through a round of compromises in order to be passed.  One of the local representatives (a woman) was quoted as saying "We were able to negotiate a compromise and I feel good about it. It's not exactly what I would like but I think its a doable compromise. The only other option would be no bill at all."

Seriously?

As a woman and a mother of two young children, I was absolutely disgusted.

The law has been amended, but even so it's my strong opinion that the new penalties simply aren't enough:

-- First time a Class A misdemeanor, 30 days jail, $10,000 fine and possibly a sex offender registration.
-- Second time, a Class C felony, 90 days jail, $20,000 fine and a sex offender registration.

The representative quoted above said she hopes to strengthen the law during the next legislative session.

Last evening, while I was researching this piece, I found a few local charities who are fighting to end human trafficking within my region, and I've begun the process of familiarizing myself with their work.  I'll soon make a commitment to one and lend my support in whatever way I can.

It's a place for me to begin and I hope to encourage my family and friends to participate as well.

If you find yourself in the same place I am, take a few moments and research the prevalence of human trafficking in your area. Then look up the penalties for this offense and decide if the laws in place are strong enough. If you believe more needs to be done in your area, then I wholeheartedly encourage you to find a way to help.

I'm highlighting the subject in this week's Charity Spotlight  because our good friend, Kat Bastion, is currently hosting a charity awareness campaign on her website. ACT is just one of many charities she is supporting during this campaign, but I'd prefer to let Kat's elegant and passionate words speak for themselves. Please venture over to her blog for more information.

Rest assured, this is another wonderful opportunity for us to support our favorite charities and do something worthwhile with our time, talents and dollars. Kat's fundraising campaign will be open until June 15th.  Please donate if you can and please help spread the word for a good cause.

Take Care,
Jenn









Monday, June 10, 2013

With Thanks To All...






On June 10, 2012, Coco, Iris, Sere and I opened a twitter account called The GI Series Fans. With the blessing of SR and his publicist, Enn, we set out to provide a positive place for fans of The Professor and his Beloved to gather, swoon and share news about one of our favorite stories and authors.

We had no idea who we would meet or if anyone would even notice we were there, but very quickly we were introduced to some lovely people and our numbers began to grow.  We never imagined that within a year's time we would be running multiple sites and be joined by so many sister sites from all around the world.

During our first year, we were thrilled to learn that The Professor would return; we fantasized about Gandy and Cavill playing the part; we anticipated each and every teaser tweet that SR provided us; we held a fundraiser to benefit the American Red Cross and One Boston Fund; and we've enjoyed every moment of it.

So please accept my personal thanks for your essential support during our first year. It has been a joy meeting so many fans of Sylvain Reynard and his stories. We have so much to look forward to this year and beyond, and we'll hope you will continue to be a part of our world.

Take Care,
Jenn (aka Miss Cranberry)

~~~~~~~~~

Happy One Year Anniversary, Argyle Empire!

It didn’t happen overnight, and wasn’t at all planned.

A year ago, I was lucky enough to be given the honor to start the official fans twitter for the GI series readers and SR’s fans by both SR and his publicist, Enn B. I mean, I like Twitter and tweeting random craps, err.. I mean mundane things in my life, but running a fans twitter for a national best selling series and author is a whole new Star Trek universe (which happens to be one of his favorite...things). And I certainly don’t speak nor understand Klingon language.

I didn’t want to disappoint and (bless my little ambitious heart) I also realized that it’d take a village to run the account, so I started asking around for helps. I approached @RandomCran (Jenn), @SerendipitousMC (Sere/Mango), and @Iris_Elli (Elli) to jump on board because we’ve known each other a couple of years before the GI series hit the worldwide market and readers. And the love and adoration they have for both the series and SR assured me that they’d be perfect fit. They all said yes, and the rest is history.... okay, maybe not that easy and fast.

We began with @TheGISeriesFans and it was a slow start. Mainly because all four of us are, ahem, responsible adults with family, job, and school. It was a lot of going back and forth with Enn, too, as to what guidelines we needed to follow, and without her, there wouldn’t be this pretty and argyled up website. @TheGiSeriesFans received a huge makeover and we changed the name to @Argyle_Empire and operated as the main official twitter for the GI fans in the US.

It’s been a great pleasure to be part of this wonderful series from the beginning with the rest of you. Distance, like age, is only a number. We all live in different places in the world, but thanks to social media that has brought us all closer via the world wide web. There are many of us who love, adore, and admire the series and its author, SR, whom has shown tremendous support of charity that he highlights every Tuesday via @SylvainReynard.

I’d like to thank y’all, the readers and fans of the series, as well as around-the-world sister sites for your generosity, kindness, love, and support. We’re not who we are had it not been because all of you.

Thank you.
Coco

~~~~~~~~~

Happy 1st Anniversary to the blog!

It has been such a fun year to see the evolution of Argyle Empire and I have been glad to be a part of it.  Soon after Gabriel's Rapture was released with Omni, I was approached by Coco wondering if I would be interested in starting a twitter with some of our fellow muses to create a place for fans of SR to meet and discuss SR's books.  We had met and become friends through the earlier versions of the books and were glad to continue in the journey.

SR and Enn gave us the go ahead to get started and from there @TheGISeriesFans was born. Through last summer we got the big news that Berkley had picked up the books and we knew this was going to get even bigger. September 5 came with the big release and Enn coordinated to start our sister sites around the world.  From there we worked to help spread the word and were happy to see SR's name on the NY Times Best Sellers list!  The announcement that he decided to do a 3rd Gabriel book came with Squee's around the world from his fans and even more he had been approved for 2 more books with Berkley~Penguin!  From twitter we moved to Facebook and in January the blog was born.  We fiddled around with names for the blog because we wanted to follow SR into a new era beyond The GI Series, and his and the professors love of argyle gave way to the Argyle Empire!  Now all of the GISeriesFans are SRFans and we can't wait for Gabriel's Redemption and beyond. :-)

It has been a pleasure to work with Cran, Mango, Coco, Enn and SR through all of this as well as all of our Sisters (and a few brothers~Waves to Mog ;-) and other Muses that have lent their hands, talent and expertise.  We have all contributed in different ways. I loved the music in SR's books so I started collecting songs and created the Youtube #LovingJulia and #GIRSL lists, and being a very visual person, Pinterest and Tumblr became my outlets.  I can't wait to see what music and images SR will included and inspire in Gabriel's Redemption so I can continue to add to those lists. :-)

Thank You to all of the readers out there that have participated, asked questions, shared their favorite book moments and the love of The Professor, his Julia and perhaps even David Gandy, Henry Cavill and others we may see when we read.  *sigh* I look forward to meeting more of you and continuing on in this journey!  We are all fans too so every time SR tweets, "I'm writing..." we get shivers of excitement with you!

All the Best,
Miss Iris~Elli

~~~~~~~~~

Has it really been a year? Time flies when you're having fun reading great books by your favorite author, spreading the word about his writing, and meeting lots of amazing new people thanks to Sylvain Reynard.

My three account admin compadres (Coco, Iris_Elli and RandomCran) asked me last year if I'd like to help out with the Twitter account for SR's books, and I jumped at the chance. His writing has give me so much - new insights into life, love and redemption; new avenues of literature and art to explore, new and creative ways to snark, and most of all, new friends of the highest calibre - so I thought that the least I could do would be to donate Twitter time.

But like so many other things with SR, what you give is far outweighed by what you get back.  I've chatted, laughed, and exchanged photos and joke with dozens of new friends. I've helped people by answering questions and pointing them in the right direction when they're looking for information on the books and their themes and artistic elements. I've found new charities and new ways to donate my time or other resources; and I've found there are many, many people like me who are also eager to do so. It's yet another way SR inspires us, and it's among the more meaningful ways I've been able to connect with an author's writing and messages.

And all this is above and beyond the friends I made years ago, when we first began reading SR's work in a smaller universe. These are people who I know will be friends for life. They're more than just virtual; they're real, and wonderful, and supportive and funny.  SR has given me much more than the sharing of his talents. He's enabled me to connect with some of the finest people I've ever met; and that continues up to this day, thanks to my time on the Twitter account and the AE blog. As the saying goes, it's the gift that keeps on giving.

Thank you to all of you who have said hello to me when I'm on Twitter and shared your thoughts about the books. Thank you to the many of you who have shared photographs, .gifs, and your interpretations of the books. Thanks for being so friendly - even if you don't have more to say than "Hey there!", I love hearing from you. Thank you to my friends Jenn, Elli and Coco, for being so supportive and so incredibly great to work with. I definitely want to add Enn Bocci to that list of friends, too. She's like the "nerve center" for all things related to SR's publishing, and none of this would have been a success without her. We love being a team and being "diplomats" for SR's writing.

And most of all, thank you, SR, for sharing your extraordinary talents and intellect with us; for inspiring us to do good through your focus on charity; and for your kindness and humor. (Parenthetically, it should be noted that I've found the Internet is a boundless source of great experiences, and most of that has involved you and the friends I've made through you.)

Mango



Friday, June 7, 2013

Toss the Bouquet Charity Event and Giveaway





Hello Everyone,

I wanted to repost this entry from Kat Bastion's "Talk To The Shoe" blog. She has published a book of poetry entitled "Utterly Loved". Proceeds from the sale of this book are donated to charity and I'm happy to say it has found a home on my favorite book shelf.

SR was kind enough to write the foreword for "Utterly Loved" and now you have an opportunity to win your own copy. I'll leave it to Kat to explain the details below.

Be sure to check out this fantastic collection of poems, written by a fabulous woman who is dedicated to supporting some very worthwhile causes.

Take Care,
Jenn

PS: If you'd like to subscribe to Kat's blog, you can do so here:


http://talktotheshoe.com/author/talktotheshoe/

~~~~~~~~~

Toss the Bouquet Charity Event and Giveaway

Happy June, my friends!

June is the most popular month for weddings, and a celebrated wedding tradition is the tossing of the bouquet. The bride, overflowing with love and happiness, tosses her bouquet in a symbolic gesture of sharing her good fortune with others.

How blessed are we with our good fortune? Warm Bed. Hot meals. A safe home. Those who love us. … Freedom.

We are all the bride. (Men, if you can be the groom…if you insist.) This amazing life we live with loved ones and choices is our wedding celebration. {whispers} Yes I know, Uncle Ned is making a spectacle of himself on the dance floor, but oh…what great stories we’ll have to tell later. {nods} The budget nearly popped a seam, but we’ve been showered with gifts and we’re about to pay it forward…

Let’s all Toss the Bouquet this June. Join me in making a beautiful bouquet of the abundant blessings we have and toss it out to the world.

Our flowers will burst into millions of petals, raining love onto those who need it the most. Thoughts, prayers, dreams, and donations all transform into something wonderful for another…all because we tossed a bouquet filled with love.




Toss the Bouquet Charity Event

The Toss the Bouquet Charity Event is to raise awareness and help support charities who fight against human trafficking, a pervasive worldwide tragedy that must be stopped. The problem is enormous. And it’s not “over there” … It’s everywhere.

How can you participate in Toss the Bouquet?

Donate any amount to any of the charities listed on the Charity Support and Awareness page from May 31st through June 15th, 2013. Some of the charities, like Not For Sale and International Princess Project, have stores where you can purchase products to support them. You can do that too!

During the event, I’ve also reduced the price of Kindle and paperback versions Utterly Loved. The romantic book of poetry is shared with the world for charity, its proceeds supporting Covenant House and World Vision. Sylvain Reynard, a humanitarian who inspired me to use my author platform in conjunction with charitable causes, wrote the brilliant and inspiring foreword to Utterly Loved. Be sure to pick up a copy…and perhaps a few to share with others.

Toss the Bouquet Giveaway

The Toss the Bouquet Charity Event is all about helping the charities to help those in need. Mr. Bastion and I also wanted to give everyone participating in the Toss the Bouquet Charity Event a chance to win something special.

We are giving away three items to three lucky winners. One e-book copy of Utterly Loved, one signed paperback copy of Utterly Loved…



And…one special gift of jewelry from Pandora as a keepsake from the Toss the Bouquet event: Pandora’s sterling silver with 14k gold Love Bouquet charm on Pandora’s sterling silver bracelet.



To enter the giveaway, email me at giveaways@katbastion.com with your donation receipt of any amount (or a purchase receipt from one of their stores) for any of the charities listed on the Charity Support and Awareness page by midnight June 15th, 2013 and click on the below link to enter the below Rafflecopter giveaway.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Other Authors Supporting The Charities

I would like to mention two authors I met through Twitter who also support charities fighting against human trafficking:

Heather Huffman weaves the issue of human trafficking into her stories, is an activist in the cause, and a portion of book proceeds goes toward charities fighting against human trafficking. Read more about her books and human trafficking on Heather’s website.

Sylvain Reynard utilizes his author platform to bring awareness and support to many amazing charities, including those fighting against human trafficking. SR wrote a wonderful post a few days ago on his website… “Why Charity?”

Your purchase of their incredible books supports the authors, who in turn support the charities.

Please share this blog post and/or news of the Toss the Bouquet Charity Event and Giveaway with your social media. Encourage your friends and followers to join us in supporting those charities that fight against human trafficking. Let’s set every one of those lost souls free and show them they are utterly loved.

Thank you for your generous hearts, my friends.

Your humble shoe,

~ Kat

© 2013 by Kat Bastion

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Don't Forget!





Hello Everyone,

It's a been a busy and exciting week as the first chapter of "Gabriel's Redemption" was posted online. Now that the dust has settled a bit we just wanted to issue a friendly reminder for you to redeem your goodies for pre-ordering the new book!

In case you hadn't heard already, SR wanted to give something extra to those who pre-order “Gabriel’s Redemption.”

If you've pre-ordered the EBOOK of Gabriel's Redemption from any site, Amazon, BN, iBooks, etc. email the receipt / proof of purchase / screenshot to Enn at EBOOK@sylvainreynard.com

If you've pre-ordered the PRINT of Gabriel's Redemption from any site, Amazon, BN, iBooks, etc. email the receipt / proof of purchase / screenshot to Enn at PRINT@sylvainreynard.com

What do you get for pre-ordering?

Those that pre-order the EBOOK you will get a special Authorgraph from Gabriel with an exclusive bit that isn't in the novel. *****(Please make sure your authograph email / Twitter is listed somewhere so it can be matched up)

Those that pre-order the PRINT you will get a special bookplate from Gabriel with an exclusive bit that isn't in the novel. *****(Please make sure your MAILING ADDRESS is listed so Enn can send you the bookplate)

No, they're not the same 'special' bits.

So, EBOOK and PRINT will have two separate goodies from Gabriel.

Yes, this is open internationally.

It's very important that you're accurate with your information so everyone gets their Gabriel treat.

If you have questions, please email Enn at enn@sylvainreynard.com with PRE-ORDER in the subject.

Take Care,
Jenn

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Another Forbidden Love: Abelard and Heloise - Guest Post by Terry


Hello Everyone,

We are pleased to share a special guest post with you today.

Terry, whom you probably know as @Terry the Nurse on Twitter, is indeed a nurse, though she also has a degree in History and a graduate degree in Human Communication.

You may have read her Charity Tuesday spotlight on Covenant House, and we were thrilled when she offered to submit another blog post for the Empire.

She's a big fan of SR's writing, and in today's post, she shares her thoughts on comparing Gabriel and Julia with Abelard and Heloise.

Enjoy and Take Care,
Jenn




Another Forbidden Love: Abelard and Heloise and the Parallels to Gabriel’s Inferno and Rapture

If you’ve read Gabriel’s Inferno and Gabriel’s Rapture (is there anyone left who hasn’t?) you already know that the medieval lovers Peter Abelard and Heloise d’Argenteuil are referenced by both Julia (in anger) and Gabriel (in love). In fact, I could argue that the comedy of errors that forces Gabriel and Julia apart, and indeed breaks their hearts --and ours-- can be partly because Julia and Gabriel have very different opinions of these two famous professor-student lovers and whose own fictional experience is not terribly different from this tragic medieval couple.

Who were Abelard and Heloise? Why are they referenced so often in the books? What are the parallels between Gabriel and Julia, and Abelard and Heloise? And what is it about those famous letters to which Gabriel refers?

Let me begin by telling you a little about this illustrative couple and why I think SR makes them relatively prominent in both of the first two books. Likewise, there are countless similarities between Gabriel and Peter Abelard. Indeed so many that I would theorize that much of The Professor is modeled on Peter Abelard. Maybe there’s a deeper reason why Gabriel says to Julia in Rapture “Read my sixth letter. Paragraph 4.” In many ways, Gabriel and Abelard mirror each other.

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Abelard and Heloise are considered the iconic couple of forbidden love. Peter Abelard (1079 – 1142), the better known of the couple, was considered one of the greatest intellects of the 12th century. Brilliant, attractive, and arrogant (especially when writing about himself), he drew thousands to his school in the province of Notre Dame in Paris. (Paris was the intellectual center of Europe in the 12th century.) He could place his roots within the French nobility, but according to some historical sources, Abelard gave up the knighthood that was due him in order to be the philosopher and teacher, a role for which he was much better suited. In addition to his knowledge of Greek and Roman philosophy and logic, he was also a renowned theologian.

While we don’t know exactly what Abelard looks like in terms of physical appearance, we do know that he held himself in high esteem. For example, he says of himself with some hubris:

So distinguished was my name, and I possessed such advantages of youth and comeliness, that no matter what woman I might favour with my love, I dreaded rejection of none. (from Abelard’s Historia Calamitatum [The Story of My Misfortune]) Clearly, he was not suffering from a lack of self-confidence, particularly with women. I know another Professor who could have said the same thing about himself.

Heloise d’Argenteuil (1090 – 1164) was a brilliant young woman of a lower social standing than Abelard and was twenty years younger than him when he became her professor. Very little is known about her family, except that she was in the care of an uncle, Fulbert, who was a Church canon of the Cathedral of Notre Dame. Keeping in mind that women of this historical era were not commonly well-educated, Heloise stands out as a learned woman fluent in both literature and ancient languages. In fact, her intellectual acumen is so unusual that by the time she met Abelard she was already known across Europe for her scholarship. Writings about Heloise describe her as beautiful as well as accomplished – for Abelard (and for another professor, it seems) this is a magnetic combination that becomes difficult to resist in a woman.

Fulbert engaged Abelard to further educate Heloise privately, and Abelard went so far as to take residence in Fulbert’s home in order to be closer to her. That’s where the fireworks begin. He promptly falls deeply in love with her, and she with him even in view of a significant age difference. And their love is like fire -- impassioned, fervent, and all-consuming. And…forbidden.

As Abelard describes his passion for Heloise:

Our speech was more of love than of the books which lay open before us; our kisses far outnumbered our reasoned words. Our hands sought less the book than each other's bosoms -- love drew our eyes together far more than the lesson drew them to the pages of our text….. No degree in love's progress was left untried by our passion, and if love itself could imagine any wonder as yet unknown, we discovered it. And our inexperience of such delights made us all the more ardent in our pursuit of them, so that our thirst for one another was still unquenched. [Abelard’s Historia Calamitatum (The Story of My Misfortunes)]

With a passion as evocative as Abelard describes in his confessions, it should be no surprise that their love affair rapidly becomes sexual and Heloise finds herself pregnant. In a devoutly Catholic France, Heloise’s illegitimate pregnancy begins the progression of Abelard’s disgrace and Heloise’s exile following the birth of their son; eventually forcing her to spend the rest of her life in a monastery, isolated from Abelard and her son Astrolabius forever. But it gets much worse for Abelard.

Secretly married following the birth of Astrolabius, the couple left their son with Abelard's sister. When Heloise went to stay with the nuns at Argenteuil at Abelard’s insistence and ostensibly for her protection, her uncle mistakenly believed that Abelard had rejected and abandoned her by forcing her to become a nun. In a planned attack designed by Fulbert, Abelard is beaten and castrated by Fulbert’s minions in what can only be described as an act of ultimate revenge and rage. This is how Abelard describes the attack:

Violently incensed, they laid a plot against me, and one night while I all unsuspecting was asleep in a secret room in my lodgings, they broke in with the help of one of my servants whom they had bribed. There they had vengeance on me with a most cruel and most shameful punishment, such as astounded the whole world; for they cut off those parts of my body with which I had done that which was the cause of their sorrow. [Historia Calamitatum]

Abelard, like Gabriel, is filled with self-loathing and shame, and for very similar reasons. Both feel God has punished them for their “sins” and that redemption is not possible for them. Neither Gabriel nor Abelard can have children again – one by choice and the other by castration.

Abelard writes about his suffering in a parallel to Gabriel when he describes his anguish to Julia:

What path lay open to me thereafter? How could I ever again hold up my head among men, when every finger should be pointed at me in scorn, every tongue speak my blistering shame, and when I should be a monstrous spectacle to all eyes?…First was I punished for my sensuality, and then for my pride. For my sensuality I lost those things whereby I practiced it; for my pride, engendered in me by my knowledge of letters and it is even as the Apostle said: "Knowledge puffeth itself up" (I Cor. viii. 1)

Following the attack and castration, Abelard retreated to a monastery and lived as monk. Heloise, already in the convent and also now forced to live an asexual life, remained there and eventually became a Prioress. Unlike Gabriel (who reunited with Julia following his retreat to Assisi), the lovers were never to see each other again. However, their love for each other never waned, and is fully expressed in their exchange of letters. In my next post, I will further discuss the famous letters and discuss more similarities between the two couples – one fictional, and one authentic.

Julia: “Congratulations, Professor Abelard. No one has ever made me feel as cheap as you did…”

Gabriel: “But Abelard truly cared for Heloise and I care for you. So in that sense, there is a similarity. He also hurt her as I have hurt you. But he was deeply sorry for having injured her…”

(To be continued in Part Two)

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