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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

dfw-ab-tcoc-cover-3d-nologo copy

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Teaser Chapter of New Mythical Romance - 'The Chamber of Curiosities'

The Chamber of Curiosities

The Chamber of Curiosities, by Anastasia Blackwell, is a tale of obsessive, passionate love set in a carnival on a bastion overlooking the seaport of a mysterious land. It tells the tale of how a single act of faith can transform lives and change the course of destiny.
 

THE CHAMBER OF CURIOSITIES

Chapter One 

The Night of the Two Blue Moons

   “It feels like something terribly wonderful or wonderfully terrible is about to happen.”

  

       The two moons were tinged blue that night, a remarkable, but not unheard of event in the ancient port town of Tressaria. The twin sapphires were a sign of supernatural intervention by many, and a reminder that the cosmos cannot be trusted to remain constant. Yet, its beauty was undeniable.

         Snow flurries fell from the heavens, drifted languidly and lent a dreamy romance to the hush of anticipation. Only those with keen senses could hear the nocturnal creatures take their shifts in the dark rotation. The usual sounds that emanated from the freak’s cages in the ‘The Chamber of Curiosities’ were curiously still.

           Darney Veska, featured as The Human Beast in the carnival freak show, The Chamber of Curiosities grasped onto the bars of his cage and crouched beneath the low ceiling to peer up into the sky.

          He had spent most of his life living outdoors and was well attuned to the musings of nature. But, he had never experienced such a mysterious winter night’s scene.

        “It feels like something terribly wonderful or wonderfully terrible is about to happen” he whispered beneath his breath.

         Darney had been a resident of the carnival through a balmy season, but the weather had abruptly turned cold.  Mrs. Beedro, the carnival owner’s wife had delivered a blanket stitched from wild animal pelts to keep him warm through the cold times. Darney had no other garments, other than the pair of raw threaded trousers and shirt he had worn for years.

          He took his day’s tips from his pocket and reached beneath the nest of his pet, Kavas, to deposit the change beneath a loose plank where he kept his coins hidden.  The mouse squealed at the intrusion and the silence was breached.

         There was the sound of a key entering the lock to his cage and a small figure, cloaked in a cape, stepped inside. A tiny hand drew back the hood and Darney glimpsed a flash of sharp steel.  

          He lunged forward, stole the weapon, and grasped the intruder by the throat. Sheets of silky blonde hair fell to his chest, as the crimson lined hood fell away.

            He held a beautiful young woman in his arms with a razor to her neck.

            “State your purpose.” he demanded.

            “When did you learn to speak?” the girl asked in a voice strangled with fear. His size dwarfed her and the cramped cage gave no room for escape.

             “As a child.”

            “But, you’ve never spoken.”

            “It did not suit the job.”

            “Don’t hurt me,” she begged, as he tightened his grip.

            “Who are you and why are you here?.” Darney demanded.

            “I am Clare, the aerialist, she answered.”

             The girl’s reply unnerved Darney.  On the first day of his incarceration, she had passed his cage and thrown back her mane of hair to turn back and catch his gaze.  She wore a pale green suit stitched tightly to her lithe body.  The only woman he had seen before that day was his Mother, so Clare left a powerful impression.

             “You’ve stolen a key and broken into my home with a weapon. Tell me your purpose or I’ll end your life.”

            “Release me and I will tell you,” she said.

            “Move into the corner, so you can’t be seen by the other freaks,” he ordered.

            Claire backed up against coarse wood, and Darney hovered over her, with the blade poised at the hollow of her neck.

           The two moons spied through the bars, devious blue eyes, conspiring to set the stage for a darker struggle.

            “Are you an agent sent to exterminate me?” he asked.

            “I would never kill.  Please don’t think me so terrible.”

           “Then what is your purpose? I have never seen a woman of the carnival carry a razor; although I have witnessed more than one enter a cage.”

            “I had a dream.”

            “You dreamt of killing me?” he asked.

            “I dreamed of shaving you.”

            Darney’s eyes were reduced to slits as his mouth turned cruel, and it appeared he might bury the blade in the girl's neck.

            “I have an unbearable compulsion to see your face," she said.

        She looked up into his eyes, beyond the pale façade that belied an unfathomable depth, and sought the bond she experienced the first time she saw him peering through the bars of his cage. He was an innocent then, and his loneliness and fear were heartbreaking. A season of carnival cruelty had hardened him, but she felt the sense of a kindred spirit and her desire for meaningful companionship had intensified her obsession.

            “Each night, since the day I laid eyes on you, I have dreamed of breaking into your cage and shaving off your beard so that I could see your face. Tonight the urge became unbearable. I brought the miserable 'little man', Croque, a bottle of spirits, waited until he passed out, and stole his keys.”

            “You came here to cut off my beard.”

            “I did.”

            “You are aware I am billed as ‘The Human Beast’, and it is my livelihood to appear as such.”

           “I am.”

            “Then why would you strip me of my work?” he asked, his voice growing deep with indignation.

             “I was terribly compelled, that’s all I can say. Then, tonight, it was utterly out of my control, impossible to stop, as if I was the catalyst of a chain of events that was pre-destined.”

            “One more lie and I’ll slice your throat.”

            “It’s true.”

            “I won’t be tricked with words from a book,” he seethed.

            “Since when do freaks read?”

            “My mother brought them occasionally, when she dropped off my slop in the animal coop where I lived behind my parent’s house.”

            “You remember every passage?”

            “There is no waste in my perceptions.”

            “I was never taught,” she said, with a tinge of shame shining through a determination to show no self pity.

            “Yet, you’ve stolen words, and used them for your own purpose.”

            “My landlady often reads to me when her husband is not in sight. It is my favorite story. I admit I have memorized every line.”

             “They don’t survive, you know.”

             “But, they do, she shared with me the forbidden version.”

            “You nasty boy,” a voice shrieked from across the through-way.  A faintly distorted image could be seen peering through the bars of a red striped cage set on wheels.

          Darney turned his massive back to the bars to protect Clare from observation and drew himself to his full stature.  He towered over her, a creature of stunning power and strength, and she shrank beneath his gaze, shaken, broken, near giving up.

         “I will not serve your compulsion,” he stated emphatically.

         “Then, serve your rights, sir, “she answered in a thin voice that seemed to trail away from her, lost as it left her mouth..

          “There are no rights in the carnival.”

          “You can empower yourself by feeding their superstitions.”

         “Leave my cage, before it’s too late.”

         “The town’s people will believe you have been transformed by the gods into a magical being. And, since you have no access to a razor, it will be considered a miracle.”

         Clare observed a glimmer of intrigue awaken in his luminous pale blue eyes. The mirrored reflection from the twin moons deepened the affect and made them even more mysterious and compelling 

          Darney, in turn, was mesmerized with Claire’s vivid green eyes, shaded in dark lashes, quivering red stained lips, and the fierce determination that leaked from the shadows of her luminescent beauty.

            Both realized the danger of the act in a realm where the coin ruled supreme.

           “Silly idea. You can keep the razor. Likely, you will need it as a weapon in the future” she said.

           "Do you refer to a particular individual?” he asked with renewed suspicion.

            “The carnival is a vicious place; no one can be trusted.”

             Darney struggled to contain an internal conflict that twisted his face into a mask of ruthlessness.

            “In this dream of yours, how do you shave me?” he asked.

            “I kneel before you, as a servant, and remove the hair from your face, section by section. I am gentle - careful not to cut your skin with the sharp blade”

           Darney’s response to Clare’s confession was not what she had imagined. In fact, it was a shock.  His face blanched, as though he might faint.  Then, he fell to his knees, covered his face, and began to sob, like a heartbroken child.

          Clare had never seen a man cry and the spectacle swept her away from the storm of her own emotions. She did not move or speak until he had fully recovered from his outburst.

          “Tell me why my desire brings you to tears,” she asked tenderly.

            “I have never been touched and I have never seen my face,” he confessed.

            A heavy blanket of snow began to fall, affording a veil of serenity and obscuring the two blue moons and the outside world.

            “Do you have a Mother?” she asked.

            “I do.”

            “Did she touch you?”

            “I don’t remember.”

            “Was there a name, before they cursed you with the vile title?”

            “Darney Veska.

            “Lovely.”

             He wiped his tears with the torn cloth and a slight smile tugged at the corner of his lips,

            “Tomorrow the carnival will be closed, with mounds of snow to shovel from the streets. I will wake Croque from his stupor and tell him there as been a miracle. The Human Beast has been transformed by the gods, on the night of the two blue moons. The townspeople are terribly superstitious. Once word gets out, you will be the highlight of the show.”

            “A cage, no less.”

            “Perhaps you will earn enough to escape.”

            “I wouldn’t know where to go.”

            “Have you ever imagined a different world?”

            “I dreamed of a house in the country, where animals and children run free.”

            “I had a vision of the same.”

            Darney lowered his head and sheets of lustrous dark hair fell hair fell to cover his face. She marveled that it was not caked and matted as the other freaks, and longed to draw her fingers through the silken strands.

            “May I approach you?” she asked.

            His struggle to respond was more a fight against the weight of relief than the desire to maintain his image as The Human Beast. To relinquish power and place his life in the hands of a young woman with a razor took courage. But not as much bravery as was required to maintain poise as fellow beings passed his cage and judged him as subhuman.

           The worst of the humiliation was not that they threw coins and food and taunted him. It was that they walked hand in hand, families, lovers, none alone. None alone, except for Darney and the perversities of nature that inhabited ‘The Chamber of Curiosities’ - the freak show staged in the shape of a human heart.

           “Swear to me you come with good intentions,” he said in a voice laced with solemn resignation.

            “I shall offer a token of trust, a strand of my hair for you to take the first cut,” she said and offered a lock for him to cut.”

            He roughly sheered the lock and secured it beneath his water bowl.

           “Loneliness is not always a bad thing. I have been touched and taken, but never with love,” she said.

            Their vaporous breaths met and melted into the air, then faded through the bars.

            “Fear is not your friend, Darney. It will destroy you, if you allow it. I stand on the pedestal, every night, terrified that I will fall to my death. And perhaps I will. But, at least I experienced the exhilaration of the jump. I did something to excite the audience, to inspire them to take a chance. If we don’t take the leap, then there is no hope for the others. There is a moment in time when you must have faith, believe in yourself, and relinquish fear.  If you don’t, you will be chained inside this cage for the rest of your life.”

            “Hand me the blade,” she said.

            Darney’s hand shook, nearly uncontrollably, as he relinquished the weapon.

           “Do you have a cloth to dip in water to soften the root and make a closer cut?”

            Darney tore a piece of cloth from his shirt, dipped it into his water bowl, and pressed it against his face.  He had never been shaved or groomed by another.  The stigma and shame of his appearance had caused him to be banished to live amongst the animals, and groom himself as one of them.

             Clare kneeled before him in the wood shavings that covered the floor, enveloping him in her intoxicating smell, and began to cut away the mask that separated him from humanity.

            A heavy snowfall obscured the outside world and time slowed to the eternal. Darney relaxed against his cell wall, held captive to the sensuality of the moment, and gave over Clare’s divine touch.

             He prayed she would not notice the affect on his body. He had matured in the company of animals and believed the acts were the same between man and woman. Carnivals workers often sneaked into the cages of the freaks, and he heard lustful sounds continue late into the night. But, his feelings for this young woman were far more exquisite. He had read of finer forms of courtship, and instinct told him she must be treated with care.

           Clare had never experienced physical attraction to a man – only disgust and revulsion. She could not understand the thrill of girls her own age, but now had a taste of the intoxication -- a feeling both terrifying and delicious.  On the day of Darney’s arrival she had seen him nearly naked, and was astonished by his physical appearance.

           No man in her land carried such an enormous frame. But, it was his hands she found most appealing. They were large, heavily veined, with long fingers, and carried the potential of both a brutal warrior and sensitive lover.

            “I’ve scarred you”, she said as a trail of blood oozed down his cheek. She cut a horizontal line across his upper cheek, as he shifted his weight and his thigh brushed against hersl.

           “You don’t need to be gentle. I’m accustomed to bites and claw marks.”

              Darney held the cloth to the cut, while Clare finished the last of the job, and wiped his face clean with water from his bowl. Darney felt her move dainty fingertips across the contours of his facial structure - eyelids, cheekbones, and lips. 

            The snow storm abated and the moons now afforded enough light for her to see his face clearly.

            “Dear God – it is sacrilege – the most horrible imaginable. How could they do this to you?" she uttered.

            “Worse than Croque?”

            “That would be impossible” she laughed, and tears collected in her eyes, as though she might weep at his misfortune.

           .”You have been misled, my dear friend. You are not a human beast. In fact, you are the most ideal man I have ever seen,” she said.

          Clare admired the perfect symmetry, features unlike those of her countrymen. The average Tressarian had a large nose, protruding eyes and ears, pocked skin, and coarse, unruly, balding hair, as well as crooked teeth, full gut, short limbs, double chin, and small appendages. Men’s bodies were covered with coarse hair, front and back, while Darney’s  skin was smooth and hairless. 

           “You agree I am not of normal size or stature. I am a freak of nature,” he said, seeking to ascertain if her words were mere flattery.

            “Your frame is unusually large and certainly unlike the men in our township, or even the fittest seamen from other lands I’ve seen dock at the port. But, you are perfectly proportioned, and your face is exquisite. Even your teeth are straight and white, despite your deprivation. Perhaps if you lived in another land, you would have been a king.”

           Claire reached into her satin satchel to remove a small mirror.

           “Take a look for yourself.”

            Darney accepted the reflective glass to peer at his face for the first time. He observed high cheek bones cradling a well formed nose, full lips, and deeply set pale blue eyes. A faint cleft gave definition to his chin, and the shadow of beard perfectly outlined a masculine jaw. There were no mars on his skin, other than the recent cut, and his skin color looked healthy, flushed and radiant.

            “Cut off my hair.”

            “Not yet.  I will braid it like the horses,” she said and moved behind him to tie his hair away from his face.

            “Some men take when they have no right to steal. It doesn’t mean you have given yourself. So, I consider myself as pure as you.  I hope you do not view me as soiled.”

          Claire leaned forward and afforded Darney a tender first kiss.  The virginal gesture drew a wildly erotic response, a stab of longing like a sharp pick slammed into a slab of ice. He was not a boy, he was a fully grown man, past his second decade, and had been starved of affection for far too long.

          “Love means complete trust in another. You must earn my trust, Darney.”

            “The two moons are nearly spent, and so is our night together,” Darney replied, and drew himself up to nearly full height, the ceiling constraining his stature.

           “In the morning, stand at the bars and speak to whoever approaches. Offer quotations from the books you have memorized. I will set the gossip in motion, and tell them miracle occurred on the night of the two blue moons. The Human Beast has been transformed into a Godlike creature, with the powers of a prophet and healer.”

          “Remember, no matter what happens, you are a supreme being in this world or any other,” she said, and departed his cage.

           Darney lowered himself to the floor and drew himself into a fetal position. He wrapped his fur tightly around him and fell into a slumber, disturbed by startling dreams, both erotic and violent.  

          The power of faith had unlocked Darney’s unclaimed legacy. He was no longer a savage innocent held in abject servitude, bereft of identity or the hope of a meaningful future.  A robust manly power struggled to be born, and unleashed, would wreak havoc in the land of Tressaria, as he claimed his right to express his humanity.

          The Human Beast had awakened.

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A Woman on the Wildside - Sex and the Cemetery in Argentina

"The place was tranquil, in a disturbing way, beautiful in a gothic manner of opulent splendor, a facade for darker stories - a ghost town in the literal sense."

NOTE:  A Woman on the Wildside is a series of blogs currently being written by Anastasia Blackwell, chronicling her experience as a single woman traveling in Argentina, with the purpose of publishing the complete series.

"I imagined a late night tryst beneath a full moon, bare skin against cold stone, alive in the shadows of death, a delicious shock of electricity riding spine to heart, and the drive to create new life”.  

     I strode down bustling Avenida Alvear, past the Cathedral with  open door confessionals and prayer stalls lined with candles.  The sweet smells that wafted from the bakeries and candy shops filled my senses with delight, and. I ached to stop and try the fine leather boots and jackets in the windows of upscale boutiques, but I was running late.

     Tamerlane Rivera appeared as I made my way past Our Lady of Pilar Church to the entrance of the Recoleta Cemetery, its stone façade in stark contrast to the swirl of white clouds floating, adrift in a sea of blue. He wore a black cashmere coat over a white collared shirt open at the neck, and dark wash jeans.  His embrace was firm and confident, affording a kiss to my cheek that left a trace of musk and spice.

     At the finale of the demonstration at the Tribunal he had offered an invitation to show me the sights of Buenos Aires. I had agreed, despite numerous warnings that a single woman must be cautious when traveling in Argentina. I did not regret the decision, as his beguiling good looks had the same affect in the harsh light of day as the romantic warm hue of moonlight..

     “I grew up in the barrio of Recoleta, on the street that houses many of the embassies.  Most of the wealth in Argentina is held by the people who live within the district.”

     He guided me past a vendor cooking glazed walnuts, through neo classical gates and Doric columns into one the most famous cemeteries in the world. Inside the walled gates was a city of extravagant mausoleums that housed the remains of wealthy, famous, and infamous Argentinean citizens.   

     “Most locals born to the neighborhood are baptized in the church, educated, build careers, get married, raise children, retire, and move to the exclusive city of the dead, when they pass on.  It is expensive real estate and there are no simple stones, the kind used to mark the remains of common people.”

     “No Exit,” I remarked.

     “I’m sorry?”

     “Your description reminded me of an existential Jean Paul Sartre play.”

     “He is one of my favorite philosophers,” he said.

     “Mine too,” I said, in half earnest, distracted, by the vast array of artistry used to render the essence of a human life.

     The place was tranquil, in a disturbing way, beautiful in a gothic manner of opulent splendor, a façade for darker stories - a ghost town in the literal sense.   

     The elaborate marble mausoleums were decorated with statues in a wide range of architectural styles, tightly attached, like miniature houses, decorated with sophistocated sculptures, art, and photographs. 

     A strong French influence was apparent, but pyrmids, Egyptian motifs and Masonry symbols added an eclectic flair. Laid out like city blocks, the main walkways lined with trees led to narrow streets meandering for what seemed like miles.  There were thousands of homes, and many offered clear views inside doors and windows, of elaborate, wood caskets adorned with precious metals.

     The most touching was the crypt of a young woman who had mistakenly been buried alive, and then died of fright when she awakened. She had been reburied behind glass, in case she reawakened a second time.

     “Eva Peron is buried further down this walkway,” he said, and led me along a narrow path to an elegant crypt lined with flowers and notes from her fans.”      “She would have been forgotten beneath a slab in the country had she not used her beauty and eloquence to reform the country. “

     “I read she was embalmed by her husband.” I said..

     “Yes, and was stolen by thieves after he died.  She was held as the property of his widow for a period of time.”

     "A woman’s worst nightmare,” I said..

     “Beauty and power exact a price,” he remarked, with a warm smile.

     Evita rose from poverty to become an international icon for her rhetoric, personal style, and tireless work on behalf of women and the poor.  A victim of uterine cancer, she lost her life to what created life and defined her as a woman. 

     “Is her husband, Juan, buried beside her?” I asked.

     “Her family would not let Peron lie beside her since he remarried after her death.  The crypt next door is for sale for $500,000.  Money buys position.”

     “It’s heartbreaking that she lies here alone, a spectacle to tourists, with a plot ‘for lease’ next to her, when her passion and commitment to her husband and her country were unconditional.”

     “Legacy is all that matters.”

     We passed the statue of a warrior on horseback. ”This famous general was revered for his slaughter of the local natives. A monument to genocide,” he said.

     Tamerlane paused before a broken-down crypt, with glass shattered and laced cobwebs. The dusty coffins inside could be clearly seen and a top was slightly ajar, which made the scene even more macabre.

      A high pitched cry came from inside the crypt and the wrought iron door began to open. I gasped and I jumped back, nearly into Tamerlane’s arms.

     “It’s a feline not a ghost,” he reassured me, while barely stifling his amusement.  “Cats are brought here to live when their masters are laid to rest. They keep the rodents at bay.”

     A tabby cat stepped outside and sauntered leisurely down the street to the next abandoned home.

      When a citizen dies their surviving family members are required to pay the caretakers to keep up the property.  If their relatives fall into hard times or lose interest in their old relatives, the deceased are left to the ravages of nature.”

     “Foreclosure in the cemetery,” I replied.

     A dark shadow passed overhead and the sultry scent of the aquatic permeated the air.  A shroud of black clouds threatened to flood the streets of the departed.

      Tamerlane turned to me with a mysterious smile.  His gaze lowered to my lips, my heart began to race, and for a brief moment I was lost to fantasy.  I imagined a late night tryst beneath a full moon, bare skin against cold stone, alive in the shadows of death, a delicious shock of electricity riding spine to heart, and the drive to create new life”.

     “There is no escaping Capitalism if you choose to lie with him,” he remarked, and looked deeper into my eyes as though to capture the image of forbidden love I had conjured.

     “Who owns your soul?” I asked, in a shallow voice. 

     “My soul is not for the taking,” he replied.

     “Does that mean it’s not been given?”

     “It means it has not been bought.”

     The heavy clouds began to give way to a torrential downfall.

     “Come, let’s find shelter,” he said, and took my arm to lead me outside the walls of the city of the dead.

Recoleta Cemetery

 

Recoleta Cemetary
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A Woman on the Wildside - A Taste of Freedom in Argentina

Author Anastasia Blackwell joins protesters in front of Tribunal in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

" I to be rocked to the soul by a passion I couldn't control, an obsessive,  unquenchable desire that burned through the night, blazed shadows against the stars,  and brought new meaning to a world gone stale.  Purpose."

Please Note:  "A Woman on the Wild side" is a blog written by Anastasia Blackwell chronicling her journey in Argentina, featuring a mysterious young man named Tamerlane Rivera.  The series will be published upon completion.

A Rebel is Born

America 1776 - a new constitution affords "men" their God given divine right to life, liberty and the pursuit of  happiness.

America 2013 - "The divine right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness  will never hold up in court,"  a prominent attorney told me.  "Courts are created for attorneys to make  a living and justice is for those who can pay for it."

"An injustice to one citizen is a blow to us all," I protested.

He nodded with a patronizing mile.

     'Art is a powerful means of expressing social, political and emotional discontent, and rebellion is often best clothed in subtext.  But sometimes you have to speak your mind, and not give a damn about the consequences', I wrote in my journal.

To that end, I took action.

In a serendipitous moment, alone on the Buenos Aires streets while visiting my son studying abroad in Argentina,  I came upon a political demonstration.  The passion and vigor of the congregated masses transformed the air with the thrill of  possibility.  The  throng  took me deep into their folds and moved me, like the undertow of a current,  to face an imposing judicial building.  Beneath the colorful flags of the demonstrators and the brightly lit Tribunal voices elevated by loud speakers exposed truths, both esoteric and unspeakable.

They cried out against a government that had lost touch with the needs and desires of its citizens. They spoke of  inflation, political corruption, unjust courts,  and greedy banks, and even darker, of  torture, underground justice, and stolen and murdered children.  It was a triumphant showdown of man against institution, beneath an enraptured sky.

The speeches of men and women of all ages and ethnicities echoed through the night, as tears were shed  and a torrent of human emotions swelled up and filled our hearts.  Light flooded from the windows of the stoic building, held strong by its columns,  unmoving, defiant, secure in its weight and position, as the police closed in.

We stood before the Goliath building, a glorious sea of humanity,  together in our purpose to fight for our God given rights  - the promise of Democracy.

A man positioned himself next to me - tall, powerfully built, dressed in a pea coat and jeans, with golden skin and lush dark hair spilling to his collar, topped by a black fedora displaying a gold crescent pin.  He bestowed warm brown eyes and a smile, his teeth glimmering white beneath the bloated moon.  His Spanish baritone resonated like a caress.

"You are an American?" he asked.

"How did you know?"

"We cannot allow government institutions  rule us through fear,"   he stated simply.

The night had grown cold with the passing clouds, and I folded my arms and drew my coat tight, while  searching his intense eyes.  Lost there, I saw something of myself reflected back, a part of me I had not known existed until that moment - and something profound began to awaken.  Flags waved the image of revolutionary Che Guevara and patriotic music stirred the citizens to near riot.

"I am a single mother.  How can I stand up against a powerful male patriarchal system?  The American constitution was meant to be democratic, but it was forged by founding fathers, not mothers."

“Your founding fathers fought a similar battle, only as the bastard children of a strict and unyielding father across the Atlantic. You can accept their remedy or choose your own.  There are many ways to revolt and many ways to achieve your goals once you set them,” he said, with a charming smile.

"Are you a revolutionary?"

"A transformationalist."

"I'm not familiar with the ideology."

"My name is Tamerlane Rivera.  Welcome to my country," he said, and he offered his hand.

The crowd roared, canons fired, and a zealous, chaotic energy infused the square that was intoxicating, exhilarating.  Yet, it wasn't enough - I wanted more.

I wanted to be rocked to the soul by a passion I couldn't control, taken to the furthest edge of mind and body,  by an obsessive, unquenchable desire that burned through the night, blazed shadows against the stars and brought new meaning to a world gone stale.  Purpose.

journey shifted in the moment, my perception of reality altered, like awakening to a winter morning with  a freshly fallen blanket of snow, pristine, untouched, ready for the weight of the first footsteps to bring life  a hidden landscape ready for the taste of something new.

Challenging the Tribunal

Anastasia Blackwell

9-16-2013

 

 

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Pen Densham's 10 Secrets to Writing Success

I would like to thank Signe Olynyk of The Great American Pitchfest, www.pitchfest.com  for forwarding the following secrets to writing success by Pen Densham.

Secrets to Writing Success 

Pen Densham, co-founder of Trilogy Entertainment Group, considers himself a triple-hyphenate: a writer-producer-  director. He and his partner John Watson have been Oscar Nominated twice, have produced 15 features and over 300 hours of television. He writes for both TV and feature films and is personally responsible for reviving 'The Outer Limits' and 'The Twilight Zone' series to television, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, and many more. This year he is one of the Producers on Phantom – written and directed by Todd Robinson, starring David Duchovny and Ed Harris. His personal favorite is Moll Flanders, which he wrote and directed, starring Robin Wright and Morgan Freeman. Pen also teaches as an adjunct professor at USC Film School. His book on screenplay writing for publisher Michael Wiese is - "Riding the Alligator: Strategies for a Career in Screenplay Writing ...And Not Getting Eaten”
 
robin_hood_prince_of_thieves1. Write from your heart! As a writer, trust your instinctual creativity and write from your passion. When you don't value what you create, why should anybody else? When you chase a fad or a fashion that is not from your heart in an effort to sell something, there is a danger that when obstacles come, you will quickly abandon your efforts. When you love what you are working on, it feels less like work and more like a personal discovery. It brings your original and unique voice to the front. Even when you are hired to write, bring your authenticity to the game. Passion is a great way to help immunize yourself from the pain and uncertainty of the artistic process. And sometimes it can be enrapturing.

Things are beautiful if you love them.
Jean Anouilh

2. Don’t worry about rules. Collect ideas any way they come. Write the way things feel to you. Have fun! A well laid-out script with no feeling is crap no matter what. I often break the supposed “cardinal” rules. I write my scripts partly as poetry, I write my characters’ thoughts in the descriptions, I write in BLOCK LETTERS to make points. I call it “fusion writing.” Write from your voice. Imagine there is a roof inside your head that limits your upward thinking. Now reach in and toss it away. Your personal creative universe is up there! A fresh, inventive, and passionate script is more likely to sell. More likely to attract major actors. More likely to satisfy and grow you as an artist. 

Rules and models destroy genius and art.
William Hazlitt

3. Don’t overwhelm yourself. Scripts are not as complex as they seem. Movies are really short stories. If you took all the whitemoll_flanders_xlg space out of a feature script and looked at it just as prose, there are probably only 40 to 60 pages’ worth of words. Features usually break down into three acts:  beginning, middle, and end. (Maybe in a shuffled order if you use flashbacks).
 
Act 1 - The characters get into gear.
Act 2 - They explore but fail to reach their goals.
Act 3 - They recover and develop as people as they struggle to reach their ultimate resolution.
 
Scripts are often not as complicated or as overwhelming when you look at them like this. 

I don't think there's any artist of any value who doesn't doubt what they're doing.
Francis Ford Coppola

4. Ignore your inner nagging thoughts. They are seldom accurate perceptions of what you are actually achieving. It is deeply unfair to criticize your navigation skills when taking a journey into unknown territory. Try not to demoralize yourself. I call my first draft the “Lewis & Clark.” Any freaking way that gets you to the coast is the correct way! Do not criticize yourself for the odd wrong turn, the weather slowing you down, having to stop for supplies. There is no bad route when you are on a voyage of discovery. Just keep going! Look at your early script drafts as explorative, until you find solidly what you like. When you get to the Pacific Ocean -- your script’s ending -- celebrate! Next, put the freeway through with a polish, knowing what you have discovered and which signposts are needed to bring your readers on the journey with you.
 

Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.
Scott Adams

 
Backdraft-movie-poster5. Give your main characters a major flaw in his/her back story. I struggle to find my
character’s inner demon. Usually one, defining horrific incident in their lives that they have not recovered from or invested their courage in changing. I call these back story incidents “Nuggets.” Like the seed in a fruit, my story is really servicing the character overcoming this damage and becoming who they should be. The character is defined by the effect of his or her demon. When the character struggles to change, we see the conflict in his soul and root for him to become the fulfilled person that is crumpled inside. Even villains are heroes in their own mind and can have a potent back story issue, a nugget that drives them. I firmly believe we are creatures who are evolutionarily conditioned to pay deep attention to the behaviors of others as a survival and success strategy. It makes the writer’s task much easier when you realize you are exploring a nugget, a single very simple, but compelling, internal human story. 

And by the way, everything in life is writeable about if you have the outgoing guts to
do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self doubt.
Sylvia Plath

6. Don’t judge your progress by other finished movies. Evaluating your fledgling work in comparison to the successes of others can be demoralizing. You don’t know how they got made. Maybe their journeys were more perilous than you think. Regard your first draft as a pencil sketch. When museums x-ray the paintings of great masters like da Vinci, they find many false starts, sometimes total compositions that have been erased or painted over. Does that mean that Leonardo was an indecisive idiot? Being perfect is impossible! Expect some speed bumps on your creative journey. Writing is naturally a series of discoveries, growing your vision is a normal part of the artistic process. 

Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.
Pablo Picasso

7. You are never too overwhelmed to write! Here is the best way to fight procrastination. WRITE A SINGLE LINE A DAY. Thisphantom_xlg is the most undemanding and easiest way to overcome resistance and writer’s block. Make a point to open your files and write the least threatening amount of work. One line! It keeps your mind primed. Even on a day filled with the clutter and debris of modern life, you will have assigned a portion of your personal processor to the task of your creative passion. It will be working away in the unconscious.
 
Truthfully, we don’t write, we get out of the way and let our inner mind free. And some days when you are only going to write “just one line,” you will find a treasure of new thoughts pouring forth.

If you hear a voice within you say 'you can not paint,' then by all means paint,
and that voice will be silenced.
Vincent Van Gogh

8. Choose carefully who you share your early work with. I never show a first draft to
the outside world. I share it with trusted people who I call Story Midwives: Empathetic kin, who understand the artistic process. Sensitive people who want to help you push through the pain of creative birth without making demands about what the child should be. Midwives help my child grow with supportive comments. Eventually my writing gets strong enough to face the less caring and dogmatic business world it will eventually have to succeed in.

Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others.
Jonathan Swift

9. Trust your brain to solve your problems. It is normal not to have all the solutions at once. Take a break when you run into a block. Sleeping on it works! Tell yourself you are just playing. Don’t make the stakes gigantic. I find I get some of my best ideas in the shower. Using my muscles seems to free my mind. All art is built on the foundation of the discoveries of others. Sometimes I watch other movies that feel like they might inform me. Ideas often ricochet from the screen into my head and come out as entirely different but powerful contributions.

The_Dangerous_Lives_of_Altar_Boys_movieLesser artists borrow, great artists steal.
Igor Stravinsky

10. Treat your work with the respect it deserves. You have invested a lot of time and effort. First impressions are important. You need that financier, star, director, etc. to see the best version of your work. To sell a script that is the foundation for a large investment, it must make sense to the widest audience. Before your script goes into the wild: Proof the spelling. Make the layout as eye-friendly as possible. Make sure that your story points are really clear; I call this “A-hole Proofing.” Every obstacle you remove to a good read is one less reason for a pass. Use trusted readers to give you feedback to make sure you have achieved your goals with clarity. Then share it with the rest of the world.

True art is characterized by an irresistible urge in the creative artist.
Albert Einstein

11... Huh? I said no rules!
 
Find an emotionally powerful title. A great title is like the wrapping on a gift. It makes you want to open it – Did the word SECRETS and SUCCESS in this email’s Subject line get you to read this?
 
I love to share my observations, philosophy and hopes with fellow artists. I consider it a great honor to be a literary Story Midwife to others. But, I also have a rule: “Ignore everything I say that goes against your natural creative instincts.” Your process is sacred to me.
 
If you would like to see videos on selling and creating, and to download a free chapter designed
to fire up your creativity, please visit the website for my book, RIDING THE ALLIGATOR (ridingthealligator.com). Good hunting!


 

 

 

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New Novel "The Chamber of Curiosities" Explores Obsessive, Possessive, Forbidden Love

My soon to be published novel "The Chamber of Curiosities" explores the star-crossed love story of Darney Veska, a charismatic circus "freak" and the beautiful young trapeze artist, Clare Dupuis.  Set against the back drop of a carnival in an ancient bastion perched above a vibrant seaport, it is a tale of obsessive, possessive, forbidden love.

More about the book, scheduled for publication in 2013 at:

http://firestar68.wix.com/chamber-of-curiosities

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