Hokusai at the NGV – Siren’s Wave – captured in the curling talons

I defied Melbourne’s chilly greyness yesterday and went along to the National Gallery’s Hokusai Exhibition to view the Great Wave Off Kanagawa (or waves to be precise) up close. Painting well into his late eighties, Hokusai was an incredibly prolific artist so there was an abundance of work on display, all of it gorgeous.

I had a good laugh at the reflection of a running man I unwittingly captured in my photo of the wave. There’s definitely ‘no exit’ from those gnashing talons as Bran could attest.

No Exit Great Wave

Twin terrors …

Twin Waves

She studied him while he studied the print. She looked at the wave tendrils curling around his bicep. The bright blues and stark whites. Similar but different to her own tattoo. Then his strong jaw, the high cheekbones, and those eyes like blinding gemstones. Relished the warmth of his denim and t-shirt clad body beside her. His smell. Citrus and delicious boy.

She put her arm around his shoulders and squeezed hard. He smiled at the wave, tucking strands of hair behind his ears.

Over in the corner, whispering and giggling, a group of high school girls made their own detailed inventory of all his good parts. It would be a sizable list. No doubt another photo session loomed with her acting as the shoot producer, props manager and lifestyle photographer all rolled into one. Maybe this time she’d leave them to it.

… Ava appreciating beauty and all its inconveniences at the NGV’s Hokusai exhibition, Siren’s Wave Book 2 – THE WAVE.

Claws

Sirens riding a wave and annoying fishermen!

Sirens

 

GreatWaveText

One of us needing an art break/mini snooze in the gallery …

artbreak

Stalking Rock Stars …

… changing tenses when writing and my Aubrey Beardsley Art Nouveau lock screen just for the hell of it.

The four queens you see in my lock screen there look pretty pleased to have happened upon the lovely Lancelot. He’s just hanging out sleeping innocently in the garden. And what are they doing? Stalking him much? I think so, after all he was the gorgeous rock star of the Arthurian court.

Queenly stalkers aside, right now, in the romance genre first person point of view and, increasingly, present tense are popular ways for authors to write. Just to be different, both my rock romance books are written in third person past tense. Undeniably, there’s something satisfying in the immediacy and the flow of first person present that makes it incredibly fun to dabble in.

In Siren’s Wave I used it for the more poetic mystery-dreamer sequences. I enjoyed writing them so much that in book two I’m using a similar device—present tense third person—for Bran’s mystery stalker’s chapters. Here’s an example  … warning Australian spelling coming right up. This one’s called WATCHER.

EYES FIXED ON the movement of his shoulder blades, the girl stands hypnotised. Frozen, watching every ripple of muscle, angle and glide of bone. The perfect curve of his butt in faded jeans. The golden hair falling in messy waves around that face. Those sinful lips.

All of it hers.

All of him, hers. Well not hers quite yet, but very soon.

Not that cow’s that he pampers like she’s some lust-worthy queen to be obeyed and bowed down to. Ava. What a pathetic cobwebbed-spinster-Aunt’s name.

He reaches the front of stage, eyes scanning the swarming crowd, and the drone rises, rushing at her ears.

It hurts.

To distract herself from the wildness, the zapping inside her head, she concentrates on his fingers turning guitar pegs, adjusting and feeling into the sound, like he always does.

Watch him.

Watch him and don’t think of anything else. Especially not her.

“Hey!” he shouts into the mic, long and deep. “Y’all hot enough?” The crowd reaches fever pitch and he turns to grin back at Nate. Bran’s laugh stabs at her chest. An attack she has no desire to protect herself from.

The endless sea of fools all wanting a piece of him, scream. And scream. They lurch and push forward, fingers reaching and mouths gaping like black holes. Wanting to swallow him up.

She knows the feeling.

She stands motionless but for the head she nods in sync with the drum beat.

Up and down.

Down and up.

In a steady pattern, so she won’t look out of place.

And she watches.

Excerpt from Siren’s Wave Book Two.

MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

Hokusai’s the Great Wave now at the NGV!

Hokusai tattoos, coffee, and rock and roll love stories …

Right now I’m pretty happy to be drinking coffee and reading The Age newspaper. I’m getting all fired up to head to Melbourne’s National Gallery, the NGV as we Melbournians like to call it, to dream my way around the Hokusai exhibition.

I love all his work, but I can’t wait to see The Great Wave Off Kanagawa, undoubtedly, the most famous of the woodblock prints in his fabulous series Thirty-six Views of Mt Fuji.

Meanwhile, in Siren’s Wave Book 2, Bran and Ava have already paid a visit to the NGV and checked out the print that inspired their tattoos. While there, Ava discovers something shocking that hits her exactly like a tidal wave. Something she’ll have to keep hidden from Bran or risk blasting their happiness into smithereens.

Spectrum Hokusai
Spectrum, The Age newspaper – ‘Riding the Wave’ an article by Kylie Northover. The NGV’s Hokusai exhibition runs from 21st of July until the 17th of October.

Grinning, he said, “What are you looking at? Wanna find a column to hide behind and make out for a bit?”

“No! God. Is there any place in the world you think unsuitable for getting it on?”

“That question’s rhetorical, right? You already know the answer.” Waving the catalogue at her, he said, “Hey, says here that Hokusai used around thirty different names over his lifetime. Mostly ones he made up himself.”

“Maybe you can use one of his spares when the limelight gets too stupid for you and you need to go incognito?”

“Huh. Maybe. How about Gakyojin? I think it suits me.”

She pulled the brochure from his hand.“Um, lets see … apparently that means ‘man crazy about drawing’.”

Trailing heat up her thigh, he ran his finger over the paper in her lap and asked, “Is there one for ‘man crazy about sexing up his girlfriend’?”

She laughed while he gazed at the art blazing bright against the dark-blue wall.

“What is it about that wave, Ava? I fucking dream about it. It’s weird.”

Bran and Ava at the NGV’s Hokusai exhibition – from The Wave chapter, Siren’s Wave book 2.

Bran Castle, Romania . . .

. . . otherwise known as Dracula’s Castle because it is the only one in all of Transylvania that fits Bram Stoker’s description.

“Look at this, Ave. This is what I was trying to show you. It’s so funny.” Izzy thrust her phone under Ava’s nose. The white medieval castle on the screen was crowned with a jumble of angled roof slabs and turrets and covered in vermillion tiles.

“Well, yep that’s certainly lovely but not so hilarious.”

“But wait, don’t look at me like that. This is the castle. The one known as Dracula’s castle in Romania. Guess what it’s called? Go on.”

“Um … Castle Vlad? Fangtacular Castle?”

“No, Bran Castle!”

“Yeah. Definitely not funny.”

My God. Now even the image she’d picked from the film to distract herself with was ruined. There was no escaping him.

Izzy and Ava, post viewing the 1930’s film Dracula, at Melbourne’s gloriously art deco Astor theatre – Siren’s Wave novel.

bran-castle-stone

 

 

 

 

 

Bran the Blessed, Celtic God of Regeneration … raven.

Throughout history, gorgeously Gothic ravens received a bad rap. From Middle Eastern, Norse and Celtic mythology to Egar Allan Poe’s dramatic poem, their dark allure sends a shiver running through us with ease. They’ve been depicted as oracles, tricksters, and messengers of ill omens. What power, exactly, does Bran need to harness from his glossy namesakes? Regeneration perhaps or something a little more sinister?

“And being called Bran, how did that come about?”

“Nate, in high school.”

“Do you know about the Celtic legends? About Bran the Blessed, the Raven? God of regeneration etcetera?”

“Nate’s brought it up over the years. Usually, when he wants to be a pain.”

Beth ignored the warning. “And your mum is the only person who doesn’t call you Bran?”

Staring stonily at Beth, he gave her a barely discernible nod.

“Middle name?” she asked, allowing no quarter.

“Henrik,” he said flatly.

Henrik? Alexander Henrik Brantsen.” Beth laughed loudly.

“Shit, you even know my last name?” He gave her a look of mock suspicion, trying for levity but not quite managing it.

“I aim to know a lot more about you, Bran. So, where are your parents from?”

His eyes skated over to Ava’s then back to Beth’s. He sighed and crossed his arms over his chest, all signs of playfulness gone. “The Netherlands.”

Dix’s wife, Beth, interrogating Bran at Izzy’s party.

the-seven-raven
The Seven Raven’s by H. Koppdelaney

Life’s a Beach…

…but sometimes you don’t want it to be.

She shook sand off her towel in aggressive flicks and was pleased to see him flinch. “Don’t gawk like fools! It’s actually quite normal for a girl to have some meat on her bones, you know.”

With wide eyes and a raised brow, Bran immediately set about gathering his things. The others seemed to decide her comment was a joke and milled there chuckling up at her face and then down at the sand, up and down their eyes went until she shocked them out of their stupor.

“We’re hitting the pub up the road for dinner as soon as Dan and Dave arrive. We’re going straight from here, so if you lot are happy to sit there all night with barnacles attached to you then by all means do so.”

Ava, suffering at the beach with the Silva boys.

Rock Romance in Melbourne Laneways

Street art in Siren’s Wave Novel

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Hosier Lane – Melbourne

An hour later, they were heading to the multi-level car park situated on the same city street as the studio. Melbourne was an interesting mix of old world buildings, modern skyscrapers, and graffiti ridden laneways chock filled with eclectic cafes. They’d be perfect to kick back in and drink strong coffee or get loaded up and people-watch. He sensed an energy pulsing up through the concrete and a thrumming in the air. A creative buzz, just waiting to be hooked into. He liked the place already.

–  Bran from Siren’s Wave, getting into Melbourne’s laneways.

I want change.jpg