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Author: Anastasia Blackwell

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New Gothic Romance, The Chamber of Curiosities, Schedule to be Published Late 2016

A new gothic romance by Anastasia Blackwell is scheduled to be published as an e-book in November, 2016. Creative Revolution Media announced the story of star-crossed lovers in an ancient carnival will be released as a paper-back in early 2017. Plans for sequels and a screenplay were are also in development.dfw-ab-tcoc-cover-3d-nologo copydfw-ab-tcoc-cover-proof7-2

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Great Writing Tips for Authors

ProWriting Aid is a great self editing site for writers. I am currently using the free site to edit the final draft of my new Romantic Fantasy, The Chamber of Curiosities. There is a more advanced version that requires payment, but I have not used it, so cannot offer recommendation. However, I am very happy with how it has helped fine tune my "voice".

They share below some great tips for writers:

We've stuck with our writing objectives so far this year; have you?  Or, as with so many New Year's Resolutions, has your motivation wavered and your momentum slowed?  Get back to it!  This is the year to make it happen.  

Are You Ready to Draft Your Story Arc?

The story arc (or sometimes called the narrative arc) is a more poetic way of saying that each story must have a beginning, a middle, and an end—or Act One, Act Two, and Act Three. This has been the guiding template of stories since the ancient Greeks started writing them, and holds true whether you’re writing fiction or non-fiction.

Where authors fall apart in their story arc is that nothing much happens to the main character by the end of the book. He hasn’t been tested in some profound way.

Your story arc and character arc should be melded together in such a way you’re not sure where one begins and the other ends. As your main character is tested, has endured, and is changed in a climactic way throughout the story arc, she naturally changes as a character by the end of the story.

Learn more about drafting your story arc. 

WWW.prowritingaid.com

How to Create Your Story’s World

No matter what genre you write in, you need to build a world for your story. Every writer needs to build a world so that your readers can have a placeholder to figure out the context in which your story is set.

If you’re writing a current-day story, you should know where the story is set and what’s happening in the world around your main characters. Imagine the movie Forest Gump without the political and cultural wrangling that goes on all around him. Without that story’s world, Forest would have been a seriously flat character.

If you’re writing science fiction or supernatural stories, world building is extremely important. The more fantastical your setting, the more time you’ll need to spend developing it. Consider The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy—even Star Wars. Without those rich and textured worlds, the main characters wouldn’t have had the experiences that made those stories come alive.

Read more about creating your story's world here.

 

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New Book Cover Unveiled for Romantic Fantasy "The Chamber of Curiosities"

A new book cover has been created by Design for Writers for Romantic Fantasy, The Chamber of Curiosities by Anastasia Blackwell.

The novel, set in a carnival in an ancient land, is scheduled to be published in early Spring. The story begins the night of a full blue moon when a beautiful aerialist breaks into the cage of a carnival freak, known as The Human Beast. Obsessed to see his face, she entices him to to allow her to shave him  His remarkable transformation inflames the superstitions of citizens, and sets the stage for revolution in the seaport town where they are held captive.

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Anastasia Blackwell in Attendance at L.A. Times Book Festival 2015

Anastasia Blackwell is in attendance at the L.A. Times Book Festival 2015, which features numerous popular authors and celebrities. The annual event includes a conversation with Tommy Lasorda, a panel with Times editorial writer Scott Martelle, Ed Larson and Richard Reeves (moderated by Jon Wiener), and another panel with Jared Stone, Forrest Pritchard, and Simon Majumdar (moderated by Times food editor Amy Scattergood).

LeVar Burton accepts the Innovators Award during the Los Angeles Times Book Prizes awards at the 20th Los Angeles Times Festival of Books at USC on Saturday, April 18, 2015 in Los Angeles, Calif.

Candice Bergen ("A Fine Romance") will appear in conversation with Times TV critic Mary McNamara, columnist Chris Erskine will interview Al Michaels ("You Can't Make This Up") and chef Hans Rockenwagner will do a demonstration on the Cooking Stage.http://events.latimes.com/festivalofbooks/

There are panels for fans of YA, crime fiction, poetry and current events, including a conversation that will address "The Digital Footprint: Privacy, Terrorism and How We Live Now."

On Saturday, tens of thousands of Angelenos converged on the campus to hear Maria Bello, T.C. Boyle and Billy Idol. They listened to Keegan Allen of "Pretty Little Liars" fame discuss his new photography book, "life.love.beauty."

A standing-room-only crowd heard A Scott Berg, Stephen Kotkin and Kirstin Downey in conversation on the biographies of Woodrow Wilson, Stalin and Queen Isabella of Spain.

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Rock Star Violinist David Garrett Targeted to Create Film Score

Rock star Violinist David Garret is the first choice to create a film score for screen adaptation of new novel,The Chamber of Curiosities, as he is one of the most talented and versatile violinist/composers in the world. His talents would be particularly suited to the romantic fantasy, set in a carnival in an abandoned fortress overlooking an ancient seaport.  He is also an actor, having starred in the romantic tale of Paganini in The Devil's Violist. So, perhaps there may also be a role for the stunningly handsome musician.

More about novel/screenplay at: The Chamber of Curiosities. and author, Anastasia Blackwell and The Devil's Violist, at Internet Movie Database IMDB, or at www.anastasiablackwell.com.

YouTube features the extraordinatary talents of David Garret, and the kind of emotions that evoke romance in a land filled with danger, mystery and intrigue.

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Romantic Fantasy "The Chamber of Curiosities" by Anastasia Blackwell to be Published in 2015

There is a moment in time when you must have faith and relinquish fear. If you  don't you will be chained inside your cage for the rest of your life."

New novel and screenplay The Chamber of Curiosities is complete, and schedule to be published in 2015.  The romantic fantasy tells the tale of the mysterious Night of the Two Blue Moons when  beautiful young aerial artist, Clare Dupree steals a razor and breaks into the cage of circus freak, Darné Veskka, billed as "The Human Beast". Her quest is to seduce the giant into allowing her to shave off his beard, so that she can see his face. The charismatic young giant, who has never been touched by a woman, seizes the weapon and turns it against her, but she ultimately entices him to submit to her obsession.  His act of faith unleashes untapped powers, enflames the superstitions of  the citizens, and sets the stage for revolution in the ancient seaport town of Tressaria, where they are held captive.

The Chamber of Curiosities brings to life the erotic, brutal world of a carnival staged in a fortress overlooking a land tainted by greed and political corruption.The story is narrated by the  dutiful wife of  the arrogant carnival owner who shares the unfolding saga of Darné and Clare, her own obsession with a performance trainer covered with tattoos of his adventures, and the other provocative and profane characters caught up in their struggle for freedom. The convergent story lines take the reader on a tumultuous ride through a seductive ancient world that culminates in a revolutionary act on the night of the carnival Extravaganza, and a revelatory ending.

The novel has a unique bonus to its plot, as Anastasia Blackwell was invited to join such luminaries as Stephen King and Nora Roberts in a First Amendment Project fund raising project that allowed readers to bid on the opportunity to have their name included in a future novel.  The women who successfully bid to be included in “The Chamber of Curiosities” became a pivitol character in the protagonist’s journey.  

ANASTASIA BLACKWELL ON  IMDB   

THE HOUSE ON BLACK LAKE  

 

 

 

 

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A Woman on the Wildside - A Dance of Fate in Argentina

'He made me comfortable in a manner usually signifying eminent intimacy.  Sometimes such people are guideposts, stationed by destiny to lead you to the next phase of your journey, or as agents of transformation.  On occasion, a stranger appears to offer a passionate night or two, a dance with danger, when traveling away from the homeland.'

Please Note:  "A Woman on the Wild Side" is a series of blogs chronicling author Anastasia Blackwell's experience traveling in Argentina, and features a mysterious young man named Tamerlane Rivera There are plans for the blogs to be compiled and and published when her adventure is complete..

Tamerlane Rivera removed his overcoat and used it to shield me from the torrential downpour.  He guided me from the Recoleta Cemetery to La Biela, a lovely restaurant on the square, known for the common presence of American actor Robert Duvall, whose movie, Tango Assassination, was filmed in Buenos Aires. The restaurant manager greeted Tamerlane as an old friend and offered a prime window table, with a view of the entrance to the cemetery and pedestrians passing beneath colorful umbrellas.  It was August, winter in Argentina, but it would soon be spring and the weather was mild

     Our conversation began formally, with mutual questions about our backgrounds. The chatter of guests and the soothing sound of rain beating against the rooftop afforded a homey intimacy.  He made me comfortable in a manner that usually signifies eminent intimacy. Sometimes such people are guideposts, stationed by destiny to lead you to the next phase in your journey, or as agents of transformation.  Occasionally, they offer a passionate night or two, a dance with danger, when traveling away from the homeland.

     “I followed the family tradition and went to law school,” he told me. “I come from a long line of attorneys and politicians. But, when I experienced first hand the corruption, in the government and courts, I was disgusted.  It is my opinion that there is no justice for the underprivileged in this land, or any other, from my experience.  Institutions are created to earn capital, create fear, and control the masses.

     He paused and looked out the window pane, streaming with rain.

     “Last night, as we stood facing the Tribunal, I saw in your eyes that you had suffered an injustice,” he said.

     “To be driven by fear is to ride in the trunk of your own car. You will never arrive at your destination,’ you told me.

     He offered an enigmatic smile and the reflection of something else.

      “Sometimes the courts will dole out a good result, often published it in the media.  It operates in the manner of a lottery or a slot machine, giving people hope and reinforcement that the system works to their benefit. But even then, the attorneys are the real winners,” he told me.

     “Do you still practice law?” I asked, and held his provocative gaze.

     “I occasionally take cases, to assist those who do not have access to a defense. But, mostly my efforts are centered on working with activists to create an underground social movement that operates both inside and outside the system. Our beliefs are rooted in the sovereignty of the individual.”

     "Are you a revolutionary?” 

     “I am a Transformationalist.”

     “I’m not familiar with the ideology.”

     He paused for a moment and drew a forefinger across his lower lip.

     My group organized the demonstration you attended. We provide political speakers and the trucks used to haul stage set-ups, video and audio equipment, and banners. I keep my eye on the spectators to make certain the crowd remains in control and the police are kept at bay. That’s how I found you, although you would not be hard to miss at any vantage point.” 

     I blushed at the compliment, though not entirely convinced his beguiling manner wasn’t universally administered, as heir to the machismo porteño culture.

     “I presumed your appearance was more than serendipity,” I said.

     “What path led you there?”

     “I asked the ticket seller at the train station what stop to take to arrive at Arenales and Suipacha. He told me to get out at the Tribunals exit.”

     “Then it was fate.”

     “How so?”

     “You got off at the wrong stop.”

     Our waiter, who moved like an invisible puppeteer guiding him by strings, arrived with a silver platter of steaming coffee and dulche de leche dessert, a delicious Argentinean favorite. Tamerlane switched to his native Spanish tongue and engaged the man in a banter that accented the deep melodic tone of his voice.

     A melancholy drifted over me as the pouring rain beat the window, obscuring our view. The world dissolved into a blur, leaving only the security of the present. As he spoke with the waiter I admired his impressive physical attributes.

     He had intense, soulful brown eyes, a strong jaw with a faint cleft in the chin, full lips, and luxurious dark wavy hair grazing to his shirt collar, an expressive chest straining against cotton, long legs, and muscular thighs. His high cheek bones would have made him near model perfect, were it not for the horizontal scar below his left eye socket. I wasn’t certain of his age, although he was clearly younger.  Yet, he hadn’t flinched when I told him my boys were grown.  Tamerlane reclined in his chair, raised his cup of café con leche to his lips, and observed me with curiosity, as the waiter departed.  His skin held tawny color, yet was translucent, naked, like still water - tranquil, yet teaming with life. He was clearly a man who had never experienced rejection or failure.  His eyes held keen intelligence, a radar that searched for subtext and anticipated the next move. Deeply complex and masculine, there was a hint of vulnerability lurking beneath that charged him with the illusive aura of charisma. 

     “Is your family buried there?” I asked him, looking out the smeared window toward the gates of the Recoleta Cemetery.

     “Yes.  They lie next to the murderous general.”

     “Is there no other choice of destiny?”

      “Perhaps,” he said softly, and I saw the first crack in his resolve.

     I shifted my gaze to a painting on the paneled wall of a beautiful couple dancing the tango. The raven haired beauty wore a low cut red dress, slit to thigh, and a shapely long leg was wrapped around the leg of her sultry partner. They were either drunk on love or Malbec wine, and their infatuation was tantalizing.

     “Would you like to learn to dance the tango?”  He asked, and broke into a grin that revealed an enviable set of teeth

     “I’ve heard it’s very complicated,” I answered and cut into my dessert, oozing with warm caramel and chocolate.

      For the man it’s complex.  A woman only needs to learn a few moves. The man controls the dance and the woman follows his lead.”

     “It seems women will never break free from that blue print,” I said, with a dash of playfulness cutting through my sarcasm.

     “It takes discipline to understand how to get into the head of your partner, to learn how he thinks, to understand his weaknesses and strengths, while introducing your own spice and personality.  Done properly it transcends the partners and alters the essence of the dance,” he said.

     “I’m not good at following. I like to be in control,” I said, and met his gaze dead on.

     “To be in control is to be out of touch with your instincts,” he said, and I thought he might take my hand - but instead he motioned for the waiter.

     “I call Tango the Dance of Fate.  The man defines the nature of the journey and the woman uses instinct to follow him, while introducing her own stylistic accent.  At some point in the dance, the woman begins to influence the instincts of the man, and the dance takes on a life of its own.”

      “As the couple falls in sync, they inspire each other to create moves neither would have never imagined, if left to their own volition. Art is created when that happens, and sometimes the passion bleeds into the bedroom.  But not always,” he said with a seductive flicker of his eyes.

     “I have experienced what you describe as an actress working with a highly skilled partner. It’s what drives my passion for the craft. But I view it more as a duel.”

     "Duel implies a loser, " he said

    “A duel is a game of strategy," I answered.

     He flashed a charming smile to the women seated beside us, a quartet of coifed matrons with suits buttoned to the chin, primly sipping tea and taking dainty bites of flakey empanadas, who had ceased their casual chatter to eavesdrop.

     "There is an underground club where the greatest tango dancers in the world practice for championships, away from the eyes of the gawkers and those who steal choreography. If you like, I will take you there."

     “Do you dance?” I asked, and finished my espresso,down to the last drop.

     “I used to compete – when I was a student at the university. Now, I enjoy it for recreation.”

     “In that case, perhaps you can recommend a studio for me to learn a few basic steps before you introduce me to the dance floor.”

     “The rain has stopped.  Let me walk you back to your hotel,” he said. “It will be dark soon.”

 TO BE CONTINUED . . .

 

 

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Scene from Screenplay "The House on Black Lake" offers Shades of "Fifty Shades of Grey"

A scene from the Screenplay adaptation of Anastasia Blackwell's erotic thriller, "The House on Black Lake" was presented in a staged reading at Beyond Baroque in Venice California. The scene was written before "Fifty Shades of Grey" became a pop culture phenom. Some say author, E. L. James borrowed the name "Anastasia" in her research for the erotic novel. It is also coincidental that Anastasia Blackwell grew up in the Pacific Northwest and has intimate knowledge of the area, while E.L. James lives outside London.

The controversial power play scene brought requests from audience members, who compared its content with the popular BDSM novel and movie, "Fifty Shades of Grey", to publish the scene from the screenplay, adapted from the book.

INT. SANDELEY'S SUMMER HOUSE - FOYER - NIGHT

Alexandra treads quietly through the dark entryway past the
mounted animal heads. Ramey appears from out of the shadows
and swings her around to face him.

ALEXANDRA
(angry)
Take your hands off me.

He is bleary-eyed, his good looks tarnished by alcohol,
jealousy, and something darkly troubling.

ALEXANDRA (CONT'D)
I don't welcome the sexual advances
of my friend's husband, or anyone
else's for that matter.

RAMEY
Is that so?

ALEXANDRA
Meaning what?

RAMEY
You nearly got off with me in the
hallway last night.

ALEXANDRA
Bullshit!

RAMEY
Not very lady-like -

ALEXANDRA
I have no respect for men who seek
the safety of the cage and the thrill
of the wild - but don't have the
guts to commit to either.

RAMEY
Don't lecture me, dear.

He roughly guides her down the darkened hallway leading to
the bedroom corridor.

ALEXANDRA
Where's Ruth?

RAMEY
She stayed the night in Montreal.

ALEXANDRA
You're clearly drunk.

RAMEY
Quiet. You'll wake the children.

RUTH AND RAMEY'S BEDROOM - MOMENTS LATER
Ramey sits in a hanging chair in a bedroom softly lit by
chandeliers. There is a fire in the fireplace, as the night
has turned cold. A massive four poster dressed in crimson
silk commands the space. Alexandra is stationed by the door.

ALEXANDRA
I've seen your warlock's den. What
are you, some kind of wizard?

RAMEY
I have a fascination with science
and magick. Does that frighten you?

ALEXANDRA
You don't frighten me.

He rides his hands up the chains.

ALEXANDRA (CONT'D)
Why did you row me out to stay in
the house on the island?

RAMEY
It was like tying you up without
tethers. Knowing I could set you
free - or not.

ALEXANDRA
Cruel games are played by those with
no control over their victims.

RAMEY
True freedom can only be experienced
through absolute containment. When
your body is imprisoned, the soul is
released. And once it happens,
there's turning back.

Ramey observes her intently, and stands.

RAMEY (CONT'D)
You've had a taste of it, haven't
you? It started in the Victorian,
and you went there with me in the
hallway.

ALEXANDRA
Is this the warlock talking, or do
you worship a darker deity?

RAMEY
That's why you fell for the pathetic
charms of Andre Labat.
(he tracks her surprise)
But giving yourself to that little
worm is like a sailor dipping his
cup in the sea when he's dying of
thirst. He'll never quench what I
see in you.

ALEXANDRA
I found the young man quite charming.

He approaches with an ominous gleam.

RAMEY
The night we left you on the island
I made love to Ruth and pretended
she was you.

ALEXANDRA
Save your confessions for your satanic
priest.

RAMEY
(hovering over her)
Does your dark side frighten you?

ALEXANDRA
It must be a lonely world you live
in, where nothing matters other than
fulfilling your perverted needs.

RAMEY
You stay in my house, eat my food,
drive my car, and expect me to babysit
your son so you can go out and
fulfill your perverted needs?

ALEXANDRA
I am your guest, and with whom I
choose to sleep is not your concern.
I'm a single woman - free to do
whatever I desire. I had the guts
to release myself. You, on the other
hand, have no claim on freedom. You
wear the gold band of ownership.
You're no different than your pierced
and branded livestock.

Potent Pause: his eyes darken, flit side to side, and a wry
smile plays at the edge of his lips.

RAMEY
As the master of the household, I
have certain expectations, and rules
that must be obeyed. I would like
you to consent to a punishment for
being such an ungrateful house-guest.
Five lashes would be fair, wouldn't
you agree?

ALEXANDRA
This has gone far enough!

RAMEY
Have you ever taken corporal
punishment from a lover?

ALEXANDRA
Good-night, Ramey.

RAMEY
Walk out that door and I'm taking
you and your son to the airport
tonight.

ALEXANDRA
(turning away)
I refuse to continue with this sick -

Ramey roughly whisks her into his arms, carries her across
the room, and throws her onto the bed.

RAMEY
Turn around and bend over, hands
against the bed.

He unbuckles his belt.

ALEXANDRA
No.

RAMEY
Hide on skin is painful, but it's
the only way to transcend.

ALEXANDRA
The word "no" may sound foreign -
since you've never heard it.

RAMEY
I could tie you up and torture you
with love first - but you don't
deserve it.

ALEXANDRA
You've tortured me long enough.

RAMEY
Then, let's get to it.

Ramey draws his belt from his jeans and Alexandra draws a
breath of anticipation. The tension between the two is
exquisite.

RAMEY (CONT'D)
We're the same, you know. We're the
same breed. I've known it since our
eyes met in the desert.

ALEXANDRA
I'm nothing like your kind.

He slides his opposing hand down the length of the stiff
leather, and pulls it taut.

RAMEY
Do what I say - there's no way out.

ALEXANDRA
You may be a sorcerer, but you are
neither my master, nor my priest.

RAMEY
There's no choice, dear.

ALEXANDRA
My body and soul are not for your
taking.

RAMEY
(overlaps)
We've been conjoined by fate -

ALEXANDRA
That privilege is earned through
commitment and trust.

RAMEY
(overlaps)
And there is nothing -

ALEXANDRA
I will only supplicate myself to a
man who worships me as much as I
worship him.

RAMEY
(overlaps)
We can do to stop it!

He WHIPS the belt up and powerfully STRIKES. Alexandra
releases an involuntary cry, as it barely misses her, and
cracks against the bedpost.

ALEXANDRA
I now realize I made a terrible
mistake.

RAMEY
And, so have I.

ALEXANDRA
Yet, I gave up everything and your
life remains intact.

RAMEY
Look at me. Look into the pupils of
my eyes. They're the place where
you can see inside the mind, and
read what its thinking.

She gazes up into his tortured eyes.

RAMEY (CONT'D)
You're moving away from me, Baby.
It's like you've fallen into the
bottom of a well. You're crouched
down there, but I can't get to you.
I can't save you.

Alexandra solemnly stands and moves to the door.

ALEXANDRA
I didn't ask you to save me.

She turns and walks to the door.

ALEXANDRA
I believe it's you who is looking to be saved. You
need to save yourself, before
it's too late.

She exits.

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Anastasia Blackwell to Attend Austin Screenwriter's Conference and Film Festival - 2013

Anastasia Blackwell will be in attendance at the Austin Screenwriter's Conference and Film Festival -2013.   Films  will be presented by Jonathan Demme, Elaine May, Shane Black, Brian Helgeland, Barry Josephson, Callie Khouri, Vince Gilligan, Susan Sarandon, and Norman Steinberg, amongst others.

More nfo:  http://www.austinfilmfestival.com/aff/live/

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Winner of First Amendment Auction Becomes Character in Novel 'The Chamber of Curiosities'

The First Amendment Project held a fundraiser in 2010 which offered readers the opportunity to bid on having their name used as a character in a soon to be written novel by a published author.  Most winning bidders had no say in how their names would be used by authors.  But, I chose to offer the winning bidder to "run away and join the circus".  Bidders could become whatever circus worker they had dreamed of as a child, and potentially change the arc of the story.

The winner asked me to select her character. I decided to wait for the right character to present itself, rather than attaching the name to a pre-existing character  But it was not a flame thrower, horse vaulter, or tightrope walker that captured her name - it was the deacon's wife, who came to life  midway in the novel, and helped change the destinies of the major characters.

The Chamber of Curiosities is scheduled to be published early in 2016. It is the tale of charismatic circus "freak" and the beautiful trapeze artist Clare Dupree  entices him into an act of faith - setting the stage for revolution in the ancient seaport town where they are held captive.

The House on Black Lake

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