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Author: Anastasia Blackwell


The Power and Beauty of the Word

 I was recently interviewed about my inspiration to write "The House on Black Lake".  This is my story:

It all began one sultry night in the venerable bar, James' Beach in Venice, California. The roofless space fused cigarette smoke, the salty stench of the sea, and the cologne masked sweat of three men surrounding me. To the left and right, perched on their stools, like cocks on the roost of a hen house, two gorgeous men competed for my attention. To my back was a wizened old man with a girlish muse on his arm. Somehow his sagely words kept sneaking between the hunks and worse yet the encroachment of his emaciated frame.

My girlfriend was the one who broke the spell. Upon returning from the restroom, she ordered a T and T, lit another Marlboro Light, and tore my attention from the two dueling cocks to introduce me to the mismatched duo at my rear. The elderly man's face looked like the mask of a vampire's last incarnation. The girl's face appeared as pure as a new born chick, but experience had taught me that innocence does not usually take residence with debauchery. Or, as my attorney once told me, squirrels only mate with squirrels. I soon learned he was a "well known" poet. This was obviously a marketing ploy to sell his workshops, but the girl appeared smitten with his genius. She professed to have taken more than one of his classes since moving to Los Angeles from Minnesota three months ago. She had also completed all the exercises in "The Artist's Way", and insisted I do the same.

The poet apparently had a magic touch as I found myself confessing a desire to write a novel about a past experience. He leaned closer as I mentioned the word "write" and looked deeply into my eyes, in the manner of a predator smelling the blood of prey, and asked me to elaborate. I explained I had flown to the summer home of friends on the outskirts of Montreal, and upon arrival my young son and I were rowed out to spend the night in a Victorian Mansion on a deserted island. There was no phone reception and the boat garage was empty. I later learned from the lake's inhabitants that the house was said to be haunted and the enclave filled with secrets, evidence of which I found inside the residence. To make matters worse I could not swim and had a phobia of deep water. My experience on Black Lake was so powerful I felt the story must be retold.

The ancient scribe downed his shot of whiskey, wiped the excess with the back of his heavily veined and spotted hand, and looked even deeper into my eyes. His orbs wore the veil of a prophet or mystic. "My dear", he told me, "what you must do is write down how it felt to be rowed out on a lake at midnight to stay in a house that terrified you. Do not think about writing a novel. Focus only on writing about how you felt as you entered the boat, were rowed out onto the lake, and approached the house. The story will begin to unfold and take you to places you could never have imagined."

His words melted into the languid music of the night, the rising voices of the intoxicated, and the nearly tribal vibrations of the satyr's hunt. The evening began to swirl and spin, with beautiful people surrounding and engaging me as the poet and his muse disappeared into the mist tinged night. It was an evening to be remembered always. I can still see the image of silvery fog flowing in from the beach, capturing me in its midst, and drawing me into a magical fortnight, until the morning when I was deposited back into my former life.

On the morning of my return I awoke to my domestic chores. I made breakfast for my sons, drove them to school, and began the routine of my day. The house I purchased after my divorce had a severe structural problem with a lawsuit attached, and one corner appeared to carry all the baggage of the residence. With a Feng Shui book in hand I had attempted to cure the ills of the spot by hanging a vibrant plant. However, this particular plant did not seem happy with the bad Karma corner and was drying out and turning brown, munch like the Venice Beach poet. I filled a container with water, took a stool to the lofty dark spot, and stepped up to feed the foliage. At the moment the water took soil I was hit with what felt like a poltergeist. I was thrown, or fell due to lack of balance after three days of partying, and landed on my foot, breaking it outright.

Later that day I was released from the local emergency room with a bound foot and crutches. In dire pain, and daunted by the prospect of navigating the twenty steps down to my front door, I sank into an abyss of self pity. My mind shut down at the thought of ninety days with no respite, a Sartre-like No Exit, for what seemed an eternity.

I had nearly touched the brink of despair when I remembered, at the edge of drug induced consciousness, the poet's words. I took a pad and pencil in hand and began to write about my journey to the house on Black Lake. After a few pages of hand writing I transcribed to my computer and began to write in earnest. A torrent of words poured out, like a floodgate released. I wrote about how I felt as a newly separated woman being rowed to an island, lonely, isolated, without support, struggling to protect my child, lost, desperate, claustrophobic, and nearly drowning in frustration and sorrow. Confined to a bed, unable to walk, with no one to care for me, with the full weight of a mother's responsibility weighing on me - the experiences fused. My words spilled like the tears of the tormented, raging and fierce. Words held captive for a lifetime, like prisoners released from the dungeon of the Bastille. Freed at least, starved revolutionary words hungry for the taste of expression. Fully spent, I struggled from my bed to check on my sleeping sons, and then returned to gaze through my bedroom window at a luminous full moon. I was alone and nearly immobilized, yet free to express myself fully for the first time in my life. And that is when I realized the wisdom of the poet's words.

I never stopped writing from that moment, although I spent years exploring the topics of my novel, chasing romance and adventure, and educating myself in the art of writing and story telling. Nearly six years later, the week after my novel, "The House on Black Lake", was published; I reentered the bar where I first met the poet. In the ensuing years my life had transformed in a way I could have never imagined. I was no longer a passenger guided by a lawless and cruel fate. I had become the navigator of a life lived with creative passion. The seat I held years ago was now held by another woman, but I would not have taken it, as I had moved on. I found another space on the opposite side of the bar where I could see the poet's spirit looming yet, and made a toast to the wise man that changed a life in a smoky bar one sultry night in Venice Beach. He will never know he was the catalyst for my transformation. One can never be certain how a life will be touched when we share our wisdom.

And that is the power and beauty of the word.

Anastasia Blackwell


New Website for Anastasia Blackwell's Soon to be Published Novel - "The Chamber of Curiosities"

Attached is a link to a new website for my new novel. "The Chamber of Curiosities" is a tale of obsessive, forbidden love between  charismatic  circus freak, Darney Veska and beautiful trapeze artist, Clare Dupuis. Set against the backdrop of a carnival perched on an ancient bastion overlooking a vibrant seaport, it explores how a single act of faith can change the course of destiny.

I'm currently meeting with publishers and the book is scheduled to be published in 2015, with a screenplay soon to follow.  The website will be undergoing changes as the novel goes through the final draft editing process.

Here's a peak into the decadent world of "The Chamber of Curiosities":

The Chamber of Curiosities



Screenplay Reading of "The House on Black Lake" Offers Taste of "Fifty Shades"

From PRWeb:  Scenes from the Erotic Suspense, The House on Black Lake, by Anastasia Blackwell, will be read at Beyond Baroque Theater, Venice Beach, on Sunday, February 10, 2013, at 7:00PM.

Anastasia Blackwell’s screenplay, based on her novel, will be presented along with other notable screenwriters at Venice Beach’s oldest and most venerated literary center. The evening’s presentation will include two scenes from The House on Black Lake with shades of Fifty Shades of Grey, as control, domination, and power are explored.

The screenplay is set in an enclave of summer homes for the wealthy of Montreal. It illuminates the tale of a world-weary American AlexandraBrighton, whose vow at a shrine leads her on a transformational journey in the French Canadian underground, where she is drawn into a web of dark secrets and deadly intentions by her charismatic host, Ramey Sandeley and his unstable wife, Ruth.

The novel was published in 2010 and was visionary and unique in its use of a cinematic trailer and multimedia videos, including the first documented music video based on a scene from a novel.  A screenplay was completed by the author in 2012.

Beyond Baroque is one of the United States' leading independent literary/arts centers and public spaces dedicated to literary and cultural production, contact, interaction, and community building. Founded in 1968, it is based in the old City Hall inVenice,California, near thePacific Ocean. It offers a program of readings, new music, free workshops, publishing, bookstore, archiving, and education. The Center launched its own imprint, Beyond Baroque Books, in 1998, dedicated to emerging, overlooked, out of print, and experimental writing, as well as the history and legacy of experimental and alternative writing, poetry, and the arts in Los Angeles.

Some of the most famous artists and poets of the last century have performed and read their works at Beyond Baroque.

A reception follows for audience members to mingle and talk with screenwriters.


The Cure for Writer's Block

        Most writer's say they have suffered from "writer's block".  However, in reality, the malady does not exist. There is nothing actually blocking them from writing. There is no paralysis of the hand, or amnesia of the mind. What they are actually referring to is their stubborn conscious mind attempting to edit and control their subconscious impulses. Most writers who have written extensively will attest to the fact that the story and the characters take on a life of their own once the tale gets going. The subconscious and the collective consciousness have powerful drives and impulses, and once the creative juices unleash the raw animal passion lurking beneath the cerebral control, their needs come fully alive. Whether we like the results, or not.  There may even be greater forces at work here, but that's for the metaphysics experts to figure out.

        So, the problem is not that the author is blocked, the issue is that the writer is blocking himself.

        The Cure:  Throw up and Clean up.   First, you throw up.  Write whatever comes to mind, anything, everything, no matter how crazy, wild, or unrelated to the scene at hand. If you wish to remain firmly inside your scene, then write an outrageous turn of events, bring in a new character, turn everyone's motives upside down, be dirty, nasty, and/or cruel. Turn on some inspiring music and write.Write, write, write. There is no "perfect" in the world of creativity. Describing the minute details of a landscape, or other such boring details, will drive the subconscious mad, and like a stubborn child, it will refuse to cooperate, resulting in a very bad case of the dreaded malady.

        Once you have thrown up, clean it up. I guarantee you will find some very useful material, lyrical passages, insights into the needs of the characters, and the landscape will come to life in a way it never could have in the controlled, sterile vacuum of your mind. In fact, it is likely you will find a jewel in the remains, priceless and fresh. It could be that the key element to the scene is clarified, a hidden secret of a character in illuminated, an intriguing new characteor has come to life, or fresh themes and insights are revealed that your logical brain could never have imagined.

       Get drunk on tequila if you must, but do it now.  Shut off your mind and let your inner spirit take the reins. That is the only cure for "writer's block".

Anastasia Blackwell



The Artist's Duty

The Artists’s Duty

By Kenneth Patchen


So it is the duty of the artist to

    Discourage all traces of shame

To extend all boundaries

To fog them in right over the plate

To kill only what is ridiculous

To establish problem

To ignore solutions

To listen to no one

To omit nothing


To contradict everything

To generate the free brain

To bear no cross

To take part in no crucifixion

To tinkle a warning when mankind


To explode upon all parties

To wound deeper than the soldier

To heal this poor obstinate monkey

     Once and for all

To verify the irrational

To exaggerate all things

To inhibit everyone

To lubricate each proportion

To experience only experience


To set a flame in the high air

To exclaim at the commonplace


To cause the unseen eyes to open

To admire only the absurd

To be concerned with every profess

      sion save his own

To raise a fortuitous stink on the

     Boulevards of truth and beauty

To desire an electrifiable inter-

     Course with a female alligator

To lift the flesh above the suffering

To forgive the  beautiful its disconso-

     Late deceit

To flash his vengeful badge at every abyss




It is the artist’s duty to be alive

To drag people into glittering occu-



To blush perpetually in gaping inno-


To drift happily through the ruined


To burrow beneath the subcon-


To defend the unreal at the cost of

      His reason

To obey each outrageous impulse

To commit his company to all



A Day of Silence for the Victims of the Sandy Hook Silence -12-21-2012

Six years ago,  I attended a seminar in Phoenix, Arizona while doing research for "The House on Black Lake".  I planned to explore secret societies in my novel and felt that in order to write about them I needed to educate myself.  During the course of the week-end I heard numerous experts talk about the Mayan calendar and purported apocalypic event that would happen. A reknowned expert spoke assuring us that the world would not end, but rather would be transformed into a new spiritual awakening. 

It is my greatest hope that today, 12-21-2012, the end of the Mayan Calender, on this Winter Solstice, there will be an apocalyptic change and our world will be transformed by this horrific event, and evolve from acts of violence against innocent citizens to peace and good will to all.

On this fateful day 12-12-2012 this website will go silent as a pledge to honor the dead and to oppose the forces that gave rise to the loss of our innocent.

Anastasia Blackwell.


Is Christian Grey Channeling Lord Byron?

The stilted language of Christian Grey, of Fifty Shades of Grey, has me wondering if he is, in fact, a vehicle for the spirit of Lord Byron. 

 E.L. James,the author of FSG, a West London housewife and former TV exec, married to an academician and screenwriter (who edited her books), lives and was educated in the land of Byron. Ms. James has admitted that the story of obsessive love and dominance and submission is her own fantasy. However, it is highly doubtful she has spent time in the company of twentysomething Seattle billionaires (if there are any). Rather, her sexual fantasies would have been forged by likes of such romantic figures as Lord Byron, and his contemporaries Percy Shelley, and Keats.

I am a native of America's Pacific Northwest, Christian Grey's fictional stomping grounds, and know well how those guys walk, talk, think,and act - and Christain Grey would be laughed out of the states of Washington and Oregon, had he ever existed. And, let's be honest, most women would prefer to be held captive in Byron's gothic castle than in a sterile Seattle penthouse.

Clearly, Christian is of a different breed, land, and era. Perhaps the time of Lord Byron, who was a brilliant poet, war hero, and notorious naughty boy whose aristocratic excesses included incest, and the seduction at age nine by his nurse, Mary Gray.  A descendant of  "the wicked Lord Byron", who was known to be eccentric and violent, Byron gave over his beloved ancentral home, Newstead Abbey, in 1803 due to financial problems, and stayed there as a tenant of Lord Grey.

E.L. James began writing "Fifty Shades of Grey" as fan fiction of Twilight, so the character of Christian was based on a the character of Edward, who (as written) is well over a century old. Byron was a highly popular poet, and leader of the English romantic movement, in the early 1800s, and was said to have fallen into an abyss of sensuality before departing for Greece to redeem himself and fall to a greater cause.

She walks in Beauty is one of his most famous poems - note the reference to "a heart whose love is innocent","all that's best in dark and bright", and "one the more shade".

She Walks in Beauty

She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that's best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes:
Thus mellow'd to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.

One the more shade , one ray the less,
Had half impaired the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
Or softly lightens o'er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express
How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.

And on that cheek, and o'er that brow,
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent!

I have felt an affinity for Byron since I touched his name, carved by his own hand into a Greek column outside Athens. "Fifty Shades of Grey was written after The House on Black Lake, and my blogs on obsessive, possessive love, and other similar romantic topics were hot on the search engines when the author wrote Fifty Shades. Is it possible James also channeled my name, Anastasia, and "the scene with the belt" from "The House on Black Lake" during research for her novel?

Anastasia Blackwell


'The House on Black Lake' First Edition Sold Out

The  first edition of The House on Black Lake is sold out. The story and cover design are undergoing revisions and the second edition release date will be announced by Creative Revolution Media, likely at the time a production date is set for the film.

The Chamber of Curiosities, a mythical romance, featuring a charismatic circus freak and a beautifuly young trapeze artist, that explores how an act of faith can transform society, will be published in 2014.

Thank-you all for your interest and support for The House on Black Lake. Publication of the first edition was a personal triumph. I look forward to the second phase of this great journey.

Anastasia Blackwell


The Best Face Cream in the World

A reader asked me to post the name and a link to the face cream I use, since it can't be found in stores.  I have tried most of the reputed creams on the market, including Cream de Mer, and find Comfort Zone Sublime Cream is the best. I t is imported from Italy and is very difficult to find, except online.  I love all of their products, especially the  Eye Supreme, cleanser and night cream. The products are expensive, so if there is only one purchase it should be the Sublime Cream.

If Comfort Zone is out of your budget I recommend the UK's favorite import Boots No. 7 Lift and Luminate Cream which is very reasonable, light and nongreasy, hypoallergetic and broad spectrum SPF 15  Oprah has recommended the Boots No. 7 Intense Serum. I also love Boots No. 7 Highlights Illuminating Lotion for an overall glow and great cheekbone accent, and Boots No 7 Gentle Cleanser, which gently removes all make-up, including mascara. The Boots products are extremely reasonable and effective. I have also tried their lipsticks and foundation and have been happy with every one of my purchases.

Since The House on Black lake explores the magic potions of the underground, I thought I would share my own little secrets.  And as a single mom with little time for self pampering, I love to find products that provide great results and share them with my friends.




Top 20 Bad Girl Gone Good Romance Novels

Ruth Sandeley in The House on Black Lake is a bad girl gone good, gone bad

The House on Black Lake features Alexandra Brighton, a good girl who goes bad (by society's standards), but it also features Ruth Sandeley, a former bad girl turned good, whose circumstances have turned back to her bad roots. It is always intriguing to read the story of a bad girl who reforms. Listed below are a few of the most popular tales.

The list is in no particular order.

1. The Rake, Susan Enoch Series

2. Rescue Me, Christy Reese Series

3. Kiss Me While I Sleep, Linda Howard

4. Stolen Heart, Elizabeth Nauthon

5. The Devil to Pay, Liz Carlyle

6. No Man's Mistress, Mary Balogh

7. Dirty Money, Ashley Jaquavis

8. Death Angel, Linda Howard

9. Ricochet , Sandra Brown

10. Ain't She Sweet, Susan Elizabeth

11. Lead Me On, Pearl Island Trilogy, Victoria Dahl

12. Untie My Heart, Judith Ivory

13. The Bridal Season, Connie Brockway

14. The Charade, Laura Lee Guhine

15. Faking it, Jennifer Crusie

16. The McCloud Brothers, Shannon McKenna

17. Ultimate Weapon, Shannon McKenna

18. Heart of Glass, L.A. Dale

19. The Devil Who Tamed Her, Johanna Lindsey

20. Immortality, Maggie Shayne