Spotlight, excerpt and giveaway: The Art of Rebellion

Brenda Joyce Leahy

on Tour

October 17-21



The Art of Rebellion

(YA historical)

Release date: June 15, 2016
at Rebelight Publishing

ISBN: 978-0994839985
252 pages




Released June 15, 2016, by Rebelight Publishing, this beautifully written, lush piece drops you into tumultuous and breathtaking late 19th century Paris.
Sixteen year old Gabrielle dreams of becoming an artist but her ambitious parents agree to an arranged marriage to an aging Baron. In protest, she runs away from her provincial home of Laval to Paris, the City of Light, intending to live with her grandmother and pursue her passion for art. Her bold plan disintegrates as she arrives in Paris to discover her grandmother has disappeared under mysterious circumstances. Alone in the capital, Gabrielle wonders who to trust: her new artist friends or the handsome but irritating stranger she met on the train, who just might be stalking her. Gabrielle’s pride, ambition and impulsive nature thrust her into Paris’ underbelly of betrayal and abuse. Will she find the courage to begin a new life on her own terms?

The Art of Rebellion was on the Calgary Bestselling Fiction list in August 2016


A shrill blast of the train’s whistle jolted through me. I ran through a veil of steam and scrambled up the rail car steps, my heart thudding in a prayer of thanks for slipping away unnoticed.

I ducked inside, quickly found my seat, and settled my art box and bags beneath it, my parasol on the seat beside me. My eyes were drawn to the window. The early morning light revealed a handful of people on the platform waving farewell. I turned away. No one would be out there to wish me a safe journey. I’d made sure of that.

A loud thump on the panel behind my head informed me the adjoining compartment was occupied. Children argued loudly over where to sit and a thin, tired woman’s voice begged for quiet.

I smoothed my blue kid gloves, a secret parting gift from my older sister Nacia. She alone was privy to my plans. My blue felt hat, speared into submission by Grand-mère’s hat pin—six inches of sterling silver topped with a crimson cloisonné bead—hopefully created the impression of a young woman much older than sixteen years. I tucked my undesirably large feet, pinched into fashionable heeled slippers, under a froth of petticoats and skirts and waited nervously for the train to depart.

Her eyes widened. She took a few steps forward but an attendant blocked her path as he stopped to assist a woman overloaded with baggage. Madame Dupont tilted one way then another, craning her neck as she searched me out.

I flinched and turned away. When I dared look again, she was gone. No doubt she would rush to spread the scandalous news: Sebastian and Désirée’s youngest daughter rode the express train bound for Paris—without a chaperone.

With a deep breath, I shoved Madame DuPont to the back of my mind. I could not stop her. There was no going back.

I pulled a creased envelope out of my purse and stroked it for courage. It held Grand-mère’s photograph and an address acquired only recently. An address in the capital. Paris. The very word promised the fulfillment of every wish.

One more whistle, and the sharp grinding of iron wheels on the rails signalled our departure. Just as the train shuddered and began to leave the station, a man boarded the car. He stuck his head into my compartment and gestured to the empty bench across from me. “I believe this is my seat, mademoiselle.”

I nodded sharply, trying to disguise my dismay. I’d paid extra to have the compartment to myself. That cheat of a ticket seller!

The stranger stowed his bags on the rack above, setting his top hat beside them with care. He sat down and snapped open a newspaper. Every now and then, he let the paper drop and peered at me over his wire-rimmed spectacles. I averted my gaze each time, but not before sneaking my own look at him.

He appeared to be in his mid-twenties, about the same age as my older brother, Charles. His suit wasn’t custom tailored, yet he held himself with the same dignity as any high-born gentleman. Even behind spectacles, his cobalt blue eyes exuded a notably intense hue. Clean-shaven with a slim build and broad shoulders, he looked strong and athletic. As a caricature, he would make a fine thoroughbred horse, albeit one with a jagged scar spoiling his facial features.

Despite the early hour, a slick line of sweat snaked a path between my shoulder blades and dampened my corset laces. Was sneaking away like a thief in the night a mistake? I glanced out the window once more, for it might be the last I saw of Laval.

The clouds of steam thinned, and I locked eyes with a tall, imposing woman wearing an outrageous hat of stuffed birds.

I gasped. Madame Dupont, the worst gossip among Maman’s society friends.



Brenda Joyce Leahy
loves historical fiction
and thinks she was born a century too late
but can’t imagine her life without computers or cell phones.
So, perhaps, she arrived in the world
at just the right moment to tell this story.
She grew up on a farm near Taber, Alberta
but now lives with her family near the Rocky Mountains in Calgary, Alberta.
After over 20 years practising law,
she has returned to her first love of writing fiction.
She is a member of several writing organizations,
including the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI)
The Art of Rebellion is also profiled on the Humber School of Writers’ website
Brenda is also a member of the Historical Novel Society and leads a YA/MG writers’ critique group in Calgary.

Visit Brenda’s website

Follow her on Facebook | on Twitter
Follow Rebelight Publishing on Twitter

Buy the book: Amazon | Indigo | Barnes & Noble


You can enter the global giveaway here
or on any other book blogs participating in this tour.
Be sure to follow each participant on Twitter/Facebook,
they are listed in the entry form below

Enter here

Visit each blogger on the tour:
tweeting about the giveaway everyday
of the Tour will give you 5 extra entries each time!
[just follow the directions on the entry-form]

Global giveaway open to Canada residents:
2 winners will receive a copy of this book






Interview with Caddy Rowland and Giveaway

Gastien: The Cost of the Dream



493 pages

 1st Edition was released 8/3/2011
2nd Edition 10/2/2013
at Createspace
Kindle Edition


Additional books in the Gastien Series:
Product Details Product Details  Product Details    Product Details


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 only his dreams, Gastien stubbornly pushes on. He vows that absolutely nothing will stop him, not yet realizing what keeping that vow might mean. Sometimes the “impossible” is possible – but the cost can be extremely high.
This historical fiction novel is book 1 of a 5 book drama/family saga for adults (The Gastien Series).  As such, it contains adult themes and graphic scenes. Each book can stand on its own, but is most compelling read in order. [provided by the author]




Caddy RowlandCaddy Rowland grew up with a stack of books that almost reached the ceiling before she was five. Books, along with her vivid imagination, have always been some of her closest friends.
She lives with her husband, who was her high school sweetheart. They are owned by two parrots. Besides being a writer, she is an artist. One can often find her “makin’ love to the color” (painting) with loud music blaring.
Her goal as an author is to make readers laugh, cry, think, and become intimately connected with her main characters. She writes dramatic novels showcasing the sublime joy and bitter tragedy of being human. [from the author’s Amazon page]

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Author Email:
caddyauthor at yahoo dot com
Twitter: @caddyorpims



Today, as part of the Virtual Book Tour of Caddy ROWLAND with her historical novel, I’m delighted to interview Caddy!

reading bug 1. Caddy, your book is set in Paris in the 19th century.
Why this period?
Why does Gastien choose to leave his farm for Paris?




Caddy RowlandI chose this period because of what was happening in the art world during this time in Paris. The world of painting was undergoing tremendous growing pains. The camera had become more a part of wealthy people’s lives, which meant they no longer needed to employ artists to record the history of their families in paintings. All of a sudden, artists were free to paint whatever they wanted, but they were no longer guaranteed any income. Some of the most forward thinking realized that as this “camera thing” become more common, the artist would become completely obsolete unless art changed.

Impressionism was born. Never had people seen such a change in the way artists painted. Artists from all over the world came to be part of the new wave of painters. The Impressionists were not accepted by the powers that be, nor were they accepted by the public for quite some time. It didn’t matter. They kept going, and eventually produced some of the greatest artists in history. All forms of modern painting since then sprang forth from these painters who were derisively called “Impressionists” by a well known art critic. Most of the artists people today can name come from this period. It was probably the most important era in history in regard to the art of painting.

Gastien had painting in his blood. From the time he was little he could look at any object and see it by shades and tones of color. He instinctively knew how it should be shown to others. Unfortunately, he was born to a peasant farmer, who was both cruel and unmoving when it came to his firstborn son considering any career choice except taking over the farm. Over the years, he is beaten and ridiculed repeatedly for drawing in the dirt, wanting to paint, not doing chores the way his father wants them done. Gastien eventually stands up to him. His father orders him to leave immediately, never to return unless he wants his life to end.

He leaves on foot for Paris, his few meager belongings wrapped in a tarp he carries on his back. Gastien vows to let nothing stand in his way to becoming a great artist. That and a great lover. He is seventeen, and like most teen-age boys, he is very anxious to experience what it’s like to be with a woman. He also had to listen to his father use his mother while she cried out, so he promises himself he will become skilled enough that women actually want him, instead of merely tolerating him. He doesn’t know it yet, but this will become a way to feel loved, as he has been abused so much he can’t really allow himself to open his heart


2. You named your hero Gastien. I remember one boy named Gastien in my school when I was in 6th grade I think. It’s not a very common name nowadays in France. Was it common in the era your book is set in? Why did you choose to name him Gastien?

I imagine this will sound odd, but here’s the way it went down: I am a very seat of the pants writer. I sit at the keyboard, have only a foggy idea of the story I’m thinking of, and I start typing. I do “see” the main character in my head, or rather I feel them. Once I start typing, they tell me the story. They also tell me how they look and what their name is. When Gastien told me his name, I was surprised, as I had never heard the name before. I looked it up and found that it actually was a male French first name. So, of course, I kept it. After all, that’s the name he said he wanted! I don’t know if the name has ever been common. I do know a few “Gastien” people come up when googled, but not a lot of them. I was glad that he told me that was his name, as it is different. People should be able to remember it and my books

3. Gastien is a painter. Why did you choose to portray the world of artists vs. the world of farmers? Did you grow up on a farm? Are you a visual artist yourself?

No, I didn’t grow up on a farm. Oddly enough, my father did. Yes, I am a painter. Like Gastien, the color is in my blood. I love to write, but I live to paint. Like Gastien, when I paint I call it makin’ love to the color. That’s why I choose the world of artists. That bohemian art era is my favorite time in history, for obvious reasons. I have no interest in writing about farmers, it just happened that Gastien grew up on a farm.

4. As a writer, what connection do you see between the art of colors and the art of words?

Wow, that’s a great question. I’ll try to be brief.  First of all, I think all art becomes mirrors that are held up to society. Art shows us what we were, what we’ve become, and where we are headed. Both words and color can do that.

Also, both books and paintings can change people. My main goal is to make people think. That said, an awful lot of people don’t want to think very hard. Therefore, I at least want to make them react. As stated in the second book of the series, the only bad art is art that is ignored. If it causes a reaction, it is successful. That’s what art should do at its most basic. From there, I hope my art (both writing and painting) causes those that are willing, to think and maybe see things from different perspectives. Even if they don’t agree with those perspectives, I hope a certain percentage of people walk away understanding that very little in life is black and white, and even those who choose differently than you have their reasons for doing so.

I guess that’s why my books are always drama. Gastien is also historical fiction, family saga, and literary fiction, but angst, darkness, struggle, are a very large part of my writing. I like to say I write novels showcasing the sublime joy and bitter tragedy of being human. My paintings reflect the same.

5. What is your favorite Parisian neighborhood?

I am sorry to say I have never been to Paris. It is a dream of mine to go there. I would very much like to explore the arrondissements that Gastien first frequented when he was on the streets, and also Montmartre. From what I understand, Montmartre is now very commercial and nothing at all like it used to be. Perhaps I am better off not seeing it, I don’t know. I understand Au Lapin Agile still exists and they perform old French chansons in the evenings. If so, I would love to experience that. Of course, I would also like to just see the beautiful buildings all over Paris and the famous places all tourists want to see. But, most of all, I would want to walk the backstreets of Montmartre, hoping to find a hint of the creative force that once resided there and changed the art world.

 Thank you for having me on your blog. It’s been a pleasure!



  Good luck!


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