Book Spotlight: Blank Spaces by Cass Lennox

Blank Spaces
(Toronto Connections #1)
by Cass Lennox
Date Released: November 14, 2016

About Blank Spaces
Absence is as crucial as presence.

The decision to stop dating has made Vaughn Hargrave’s life infinitely simpler: he has friends, an excellent wardrobe, and a job in the industry he loves. That’s all he really needs, especially since sex isn’t his forte anyway and no one else seems interested in a purely romantic connection. But when a piece is stolen from his art gallery and insurance investigator Jonah Sondern shows up, Vaughn finds himself struggling with that decision.

Jonah wants his men like his coffee: hot, intense, and daily. But Vaughn seems to be the one gay guy in Toronto who doesn’t do hookups, which is all Jonah can offer. No way can Jonah give Vaughn what he really wants, not when Jonah barely understands what love is.

When another painting goes missing, tension ramps up both on and off the clock. Vaughn and Jonah find themselves grappling not just with stolen art, but with their own differences. Because a guy who wants nothing but romance and a guy who wants nothing but sex will never work—right? Not unless they find a way to fill in the spaces between them. 


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About Cass Lennox
Cass Lennox is a permanent expat who has lived in more countries than she cares to admit to and suffers from a chronic case of wanderlust as a result. She started writing stories at the tender age of eleven, but would be the first to say that the early years are best left forgotten and unread. A great believer in happy endings, she arrived at queer romance via fantasy, science fiction, literary fiction, and manga, and she can’t believe it took her that long. Her specialties are diverse characters, gooey happy ever afters, and brownies. She’s currently sequestered in a valley in southeast England.

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A Guest Post by Cass Lennox
Art in Blank Spaces

Today, I’ll be talking about some of the art that features in Blank Spaces. One of the protagonists, Vaughn, is an assistant in an art gallery, meaning I had to brush up on my art knowledge a LOT in order to portray him well. I'm not an art historian—anything I know has been picked up through general interest or in the course of research for this book—so I have no idea how well I did, but I hope the art historians and artists out there will forgive any mistakes I made. The works and artists currently displaying in the Delphi Gallery, where Vaughn works, are totally fictional (as is the gallery), but Vaughn does reference a bunch of (arguably) well-known art and artists. So rather than share my favourite works (I have no taste) or Vaughn's (it would be like asking me what my favourite book is—impossible), I thought I'd share a few of the pieces Vaughn mentions in the novel, just to help anyone interested to picture what he’s talking about.

Benefits Supervisor Sleeping, Lucian Freud
(http://www.phaidon.com/resource/lucian-freuds-benefits-supervisor-sleeping.jpg)

This at first glance seems like one of infinite Western European paintings—a naked woman asleep on a couch. The detail, fleshy tones, and intricate brushwork is very similar to nudes from the 1600s onwards. Unlike the paintings of yore, which tended to portray their nudes as ideal examples of humankind, this is rather starkly and unapologetically not what society considers "ideal". Freud brings out every sordid and lovely detail. As Vaughn explains to Jonah, this is not pretty, and that's why I like it. Brush-holders—whether the brush is bristle or Photoshop—can and do remove the wrinkles, the cellulite, the weariness, and the little awkwardnesses of human bodies, when they perhaps don't have to. This was painted in 1995, back when the revelations of how magazines gloss over their models' bodies in pictures were coming out, and I see it as a direct commentary on how people seem compelled to display the best of themselves via image. Not all images have to be beautiful to be art, and not all images have to be beautiful to be pleasing.

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Pumpkins, Yayoi Kusama
(http://www.japantimes.co.jp/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/fv20120708a1a.jpg)

Kusama is best known for her bright polka-dotted works. I'm sure there's something wonderful and symbolic about the pumpkin in Japan, but honestly I included this because I just freaking love her pumpkins. They're so vibrant and fun. The fact that Vaughn is handling an original Kusama pumpkin paperweight in the novel makes me irrationally jealous (yes, I know, I'm making myself irrationally jealous, hush).

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Daffodil 1, Helen Lucas
(http://helenlucas.com/daffodils-1/)

Helen Lucas is a Canadian artist well-known for her floral paintings. A new artist to me, I loved her daffodils and elected for Vaughn to feature them as the background picture on his phone. They're incredibly bright and lovingly rendered. Daffodils featured in many works during the Romantic period, and represent all sorts of lovely ideas about chivalry, unrequited love, and new beginnings.

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Bacchus and Ariadne, Charles-Joseph Natoire
(http://www.arthermitage.org/Charles-Joseph-Natoire/Bacchus-and-Ariadne.jpg)

This is a depiction of the meeting of Bacchus and Ariadne. Ariadne has been abandoned by her faithless ex, Theseus, and upon discovery of her, Bacchus has fallen instantly in love with her. The Titian painting is the more famous depiction of this myth, but I much prefer this version by Natoire. It's Rococo at its finest, teasing and light-hearted, with all the detail and grandeur of the Baroque, but none of the tedious religiosity. The sultry glances! The flowers! The spilled wine! The nakedness, apart from artfully placed dick-ribbons [is that something I can say in a post like this?]! I have no doubt that three hours after this moment, everyone in this scene descends into an orgy and has a magnificent time.

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Note: All copyrights of the images above belong to the original artists and links to the websites housing the images are included.


Giveaway
To celebrate the release of Blank Spaces, one lucky winner will receive a $15 gift certificate to All Romance Ebooks! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on November 19, 2016. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

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Comments

casslennox said…
Thank you so much for having me and Blank Spaces here today!
As an art history major, I approve of this post!

vitajex(at)aol(Dot)com
Jen said…
Thanks for sharing the artwork! Enjoyed it.

jen(dot)f(at)mac(dot)com
Lisa said…
Congrats on the release & thanks for the post. I'm not much of an art afficianado.
legacylandisa(at)gmail(dot)com