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Top 75 Older Woman/Younger Man Romance Novels

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ATTENTION READERS: New Romantic Fantasy, The Chamber of Curiosities is now available as e-book on Amazon. Be the first to read, review, and discuss the novel, set in a carnival in an ancient land. The gothic tale  features a a sensuous older woman/ younger man romance.

In The House on Black Lake heroine Alexandra Brighton is obsessed with charismatic Ramey Sandeley, a man she met in her early thirties, who is now, as is she, in his forties. However, it is young French artist Andre Labat, a man twenty years her junior, who teaches her about the fragile nature of love and trust, and guides her to bare her darkest secrets and desires. Another character, Luna, is well into her sixties and uses her sex appeal to allure men of all ages.

It is natural for mature women to be drawn to younger men, as they provide greater reproductive prowess, progressive knowledge, and more vibrant protective mechanisms. Society finds derogatory names for women who dare enter into these unions as there is fear by older men that they will be left alone, abandoned for young bucks biting at their heals.

Following are 75 novels featuring mature woman and younger men. Many feature minor age differences. But, I am including these unions, as the romance community (many thanks to Amazon) feel representations of age and status difference are considered unique in context of their cultural history. The list is in no particular order.

Renaissance

1. Return to Night by Mary Renault - 11 years difference

2. To Please a Lady by Susan Johnson - spinster fights against being wooed to marriage

Georgian

3. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon (7/91) -- Time Travel -- Claire is older than Jamie.

4. Pleasure Me by Monica Burns - courtesan is 12 years older that 29 year old lord

Traditional Regency

5. A Promise of Spring by Mary Balogh - h is 10 years older and serious demeanor - mismatched love

6. The Ramshackle Suitor by Nancy Butler

7. The Bishop's Daughter by Susan Carroll

8. The Dower House by Carola Dunn - story of house for widows and young girl looking for new life 

10. An Immodest Proposal by Patricia Oliver - 5 years younger, less educated, charming

12. The Bumblebroth by Patricia Wynn -Widow is drawn to the man she chose to wed her daugher

Regency

13. To Wed a Viscount by Adrienne Basso - Widow sets out to marry deceased fiancee's younger brother to save house

14. Anthology: In Praise of Younger Men by Jo Beverley, Cathy Maxwell, Jaclyn Reding - stories feature mature women with younger men

15. The Stranger I Married by Sylvia Day - widow's MOC turns passionate when husband returns from exile

16.[/amazon_link]A Talent for Sin by Lavinia Kent  - three times a widow with man in early 20's

17. Suddenly You by Lisa Kleypas (6/01) -30 year old finds love with 25 year old

18. Victor by Julia Templeton -Erotica - widow is 38, hero is 10 years younger.

19. The Duchess' Lover by Julie Beard - heroine is 40, hero is in late 20's

20. Sleeping Beauty by Judith Ivory - Courtesan is 8 years older

21. Rebel Baron by Shirl Henke  -h 36 - H 30

22. Brazen by Susan Johnson - h is thirty-five with children and as experienced as younger lover

Frontier - Western - Americana

23. Tiger Lil by Ellen Archer  Victorian -

24. Summer Fancy by Anne Avery - 1895 Colorado - tall, plain women finds love with young farmer

25. The Spirit Path by Madeline Baker 1872  -Hawk 25 and Maggie 32

26. Loving Mercy by Teresa Bodwell 1860s Kansas and Colorado

27. The Randolph Legacy by Eileen Charbonneau - 1810s Virginia Post-American Revolution - 9 years difference

28. Anthology: The Invitation by Jude Deveraux 1920/1930s

29. The Rainbow Season by Lisa Gregory

30. Last Chance by Jill Marie Landis - 1894 Montana

31. Courting Miss Hattie,  Wild Oats, and Simply Jess by Pamela Morsi

32. Midnight Confessions by Candice Proctor [New Orleans, Civil War] - Widow  is 30 and 5 years older than yankee marshall, who is 25 years.

33. From Fields of Gold by Alexandra Ripley (11/94) -- 1900s-1910s - woman is nearly 30 when barely 20-year-old agrees to marry her.

34. Christmas Day Family by Cheryl St. John - (A) A Western Winter Wonderland - Marvel Anne is 33 and Dr. Seth Paxton 26.

35. The Tender Texan by Jodi Thomas -German widow needs husband to claim land in new world - offers $100 to man to marry for one year - the taker is a boyish lad, but also a seasoned gunslinger

Historical Fiction - Historical Mystery

36.  Farrier's LaneThe Charlotte and Thomas Pitt Mystery Series - Late Victorian England - Charlotte's mother, 53-55 ,meets her longtime lover, Joshua, 40, in this book.


Contemporary - Romantic Suspense

37. The Last Time I Saw Paris by Elizabeth Adler. When her surgeon husband tells her there's another woman, Lara Lewis, 40-something, decides to invite a much younger man to go with her on a trip to Paris she had planned for she and her husband as they retraced their honeymoon.

38.  Convincing Silvia By Erin Aislinn - Silvia is 46 and Andy is 35. e-book short story.

39. Night Magic by Charlotte Vale Allen ( The secondary character Kitty is 10 years older than Hal. Kitty is/was the housekeeper/nanny for Marissa and Hal is Erik's personal assistant.

40. The Man in the Black Leather Mask by Evangeline Anderson - Erotica  - Attorneys Jacqueline (Jax) Emerson and Ryan Cutler: 10 yrs difference.

41. Garden of Scandal by Jennifer Blake - Beautiful recluse Laurel Bancroft hires Alec Stanton, more than 10 years younger, intelligent, talented and passionate, to help her redesign her garden.

42. Enchanted Cottage by Linda Bleser - Liz Riley discovers an enchanted cottage where time stands still. She wakes up to find her youth restored, and her passions ignited by the owner of the cottage - a man she believes is young enough to be her son.

43. Love in Another Town by Barbara Taylor Bradford- h is 15 years older

44. Ladies' Man by Suzanne Brockmann - almost 10 year difference.

45. The Defiant Hero, Into the Night, Out of Control, Breaking Point, Trouble Shooters Series -by Suzanne Brockmann -Navy seals - multiple character story lines

46. What You Won't Do For Love by Wendy Coakley-Thompson -Disillusioned Chaney Braxton 36-years-old, meets 28-year-old "tadpole" half black, half Korean veterinarian Devin Rhym, who may be young, but he's got an old soul.

47. The Object of Love by Sharon Cullars - Interracial - Sean Logan, 21-year-old white male, and Lacey Burnham, 42-year-old black mother of his deceased, but ghostly and angry, ex-best friend, Calvin.

48. The Last True Cowboy, What the Heart Knows, Night Falls Like Silk, by Kathleen Eagle by Kathleen Eagle.

49. Bound to Please by Lilli Feisty -Erotica - Ruby Scott, event planner is 37, Mark St. Crow is 29 and plays the piano, rock star.

50. Reunion by Therese Fowler - Lue Reynolds is 9 years older than Julian Forrester.

51. Confession by Elizabeth Gage - an unhappy and betrayed wife falls for the young fiance of her only child.

53. Under the Wire by Cindy Gerard -h 10 years older than h 40s/30s. She was his first and only true love and when she left seventeen years ago, she took more than his heart.

54. The Price by Joan Johnston - Secondary Romance - she is 53, he is 35

55. Love Becomes Her by Donna Hill -  he is a basketball millionaire more than half h's age

56. Leaving Normal by Stef Ann Holm - 9 years difference - Hispanic Hero

57. Romeo and Julia by Annie Kimberlin - 10 years.

58. Fallen From Grace by Laura Leone - h is 35 and author of a medieval mystery series, H is 26 and a male prostitute.

59. Call it Paradiseby Mary Jane Lloyd - successful advertising consultant has prominent attorney,as a lover. She meets younger owner of ad agency and their attraction intensifies.

60. A Minor Indiscretion by Carole Matthews -  38-year-old wife and mother of three has an affair with a gorgeous street artist 15 years her junior

61. Tim by Colleen McCullough - Mary is a 40-something unremarkable spinster, while Tim is 25-year-old mentally retarded young man who looks like a Greek god.

62. Dancing at the Harvest Moon by K.C. McKinnon

63. A Rhythm Divine by Judy Mays - 13 years

64. She'll Never Know - by Hunter Morgan -A victim of amnesia handsome lifeguard 10 years her junior. And then the first memory flashes return.

65. Bewitched by Constance O'Day-Flannery - Successful career woman falls in love with a lawyer from turn-of-the-century America. He is younger and angry for being jettisoned a hundred years forward in time.

66. Flirting With Forty by Jane Porter - divorced mother of two vacations in Hawaii for 40th birthday. Depressed with flabby middle-aged prospects poolside, she finds herself drawn to a younger, tanned and sexy surf instructor.

67. One Summer by Karen Robards - a Kentucky school teacher takes a former student under her wing after he is paroled from prison for a crime she does not believe he committed. Their love causes tongues to wag in the small town. Suspense.

68. Family Blessings by LaVyrle Spencer - a woman answers the front door to learn her son has been killed. The person offering the news is a police officer and also her son's best friend. The young man becomes a surrogate sibling to her to other children and a friend to her. Gradually their love turns to passion and when he proposes she must confront the judgments of others.

69. Anything For Love by Janelle Taylor - Widow is 47; hero is much younger ex-football star

70. Snowfall at Willow Lake by Susan Wiggs  - veterinarian is ten years younger than international lawyer.

71. Anyone but You by Jennifer Crusie - light, funny playful - Woman turning 40 looks forward to new life away from stuffy ex husband and suburbs. New life in her own aparment in city brings the "puppy" she desires, and a gorgeous 10 yrs younger E.R. doc sends her hormones raging.

72. Meandar Scar by Lisa Lickel - woman's husband disappeared 7 years ago. A neighbor, nearly young enough to be her son, returns from law school and helps her with paper work to declare husband dead. Story follows process of loss, grieving, and the transformative power of love, as well as the hurdles a mature woman/younger man relationship can face.

73. Naked in the Rain by Debra Marhowitz -43 year old woman picks up 23 year old stud in bar and takes him home for the night. They become fast friends and she provides him motivation and direction while he helps her come to terms with ghosts of past. Sexy, omance, suspense, pathos.

Alternate World - Science Fiction - Fantasy - Futuristic - Vampire - Paranormal

71. Primary Inversion by Catherine Asaro

72. Ritual of Proof by Dara Joy

73. Alternate World  - by Susan Grant

75. The Object of Love by Sharon Cullars

A mature woman with a younger man is the perfect match.

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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.

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

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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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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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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

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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

 

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Anastasia Blackwell Interview on Taming Alpha Males

In a series of interviews set in Jacksonville, Oregon I was asked about the character of Ramey Sandeley and my experiences and thoughts about alpha males.  Here is a segment of the interview.

 

 

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EBay Bidder to Enter Alternate Universe as Lunar Eclipse Coincides with Winter Solstice

The winning bidder of an eBay auction will have the rare opportunity to enter an alternate universe on the historic night lunar eclipse coincides with winter solstice.

An auction to benefit The First Amendment Project has brought together prominent authors of different genres to offer bidders opportunity to have their name in a future novel or script. The auction is has been divided into four tiers. The third tier ends on December 20, 2010, and one individual will win an historic prize.

 Author Anastasia Blackwell has offered bidders the opportunity to not only have their name used for character, but also to enter an alternate universe as a fully developed character. The winner bidder will determine age, sex, physical characteristics, occupation, and whether they are good or evil. The novel, titled “The Chamber of Curiosities”, is set in a carnival on a deserted bastion overlooking a seaport in a mysterious land on the brink of industrial revolution. A key moment in the novel is the night of a lunar eclipse, when a remarkable transformation occurs and changes the destinies of the characters and the evolution of the land. The love story revolves around a charismatic circus freak giant and a beautiful young trapeze artist. The novel’s estimated publication date is late 2011, with screenplay to follow.

 ther participating authors include Jenji Kohan, the creator of the Showtime series “Weeds”, Andrew Sean Greer, Ayelet Waldman, Ben Katchor, Chris Ware, Dan Chaon, Dan Gutman, Dave Eggers, Derek Haas, Elinor Lipman, Francine Prose, Jane Smiley, Janet Burroway, Joshua Ferris, Kevin J. Anderson & Rebecca Moesta, Lorrie Moore, Margot Livesey, Mona Simpson, Nami Mun, Patrick DeWitt, Phillip Margolin, Rick Moody, Robert Mailer Anderson, Sarah Shun-Lien Bynum, Stacey D’Erasmo, Stuart Woods, Suzanne Brockmann, T Campbell, Thomas Perry, Vendela Vida and Walter Kirn, Laura Benedict and Lisa See.

The auction is a benefit for First Amendment Project, the Oakland, CA-based nonprofit organization that provides free legal services on public interest free speech and free press issues.

 Auction continues until December 27, 2010, most notably with opportunity to bid to have named used for character in new “Weeds” episode, by Jenji Kohan.

 More information about The First Amendment Project at: http://www.thefirstamendment.org/news.htmlhttp://

 EBay Auction: http://stores.ebay.com/Auction-Cause/First-Amendment-Project.html

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The Gift of Immortality on Ebay

 Holidays come and go and few remember what gifts they received the previous year, although certain unique presents are remembered for a lifetime. This season it is possible to give the perfect present, the gift of immortality. But you must act quickly as the offer expires December 27, 2011.

The First Amendment Project has assembled a group of thirty prominent authors of different genres who are auctioning character names in future projects on eBay. Among opportunities available at the auction, which can be found at http://3.ly/fapauction include the opportunity to be immortalized as a character in the next episode of the hit Showtime series, “Weeds” In addition to the character name, the winning bidder in the “Weeds” auction will receive a signed copy of the pilot script, the box set of DVDs of the first five seasons of the series and a “Weeds” baseball cap. Bidders will also have the chance to be an FBI agent or a stripper with a heart of gold in the next entry in Suzanne Brockmann’s Troubleshooters series; a villain or a victim in Thomas Perry’s next entry in the Jane Whitefield series, a wounded World War I soldier or drunken Bohemian in Andrew Sean Greer’s next novel, as a character in a new musical by Janet Burroway, or a character in a cartoon series by Ben Katchor, Chris Ware or T Campbell. Young adult authors Dan Gutman and Kevin J. Anderson are offering character names in the next entries in their Baseball Card Adventures and Star Challengers series, respectively, and Anastasia Blackwell offers readers opportunity to run away with the circus in her new romantic suspense novel/screenplay.

The auction, which began on November 26, is scheduled in tiers, with final bidding on December 27th. Participating authors include Jenji Kohan, Andrew Sean Greer, Ayelet Waldman, Ben Katchor, Chris Ware, Dan Chaon, Dan Gutman, Dave Eggers, Derek Haas, Elinor Lipman, Francine Prose, Jane Smiley, Janet Burroway, Joshua Ferris, Kevin J. Anderson & Rebecca Moesta, Lorrie Moore, Margot Livesey, Mona Simpson, Nami Mun, Patrick DeWitt, Phillip Margolin, Rick Moody, Robert Mailer Anderson, Sarah Shun-Lien Bynum, Stacey D’Erasmo, Stuart Woods, Suzanne Brockmann, T Campbell, Thomas Perry, Vendela Vida, Anastasia Blackwell and Walter Kirn. In addition, authors Laura Benedict and Lisa See are offering “book club packages,” in which they supply multiple copies of one of their books and make a telephone call to the group

All proceeds will benefit First Amendment Project (FAP). FAP is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing free legal services on public interest free speech and free press matters. FAP serves its core constituency of activists, journalists, and artists by defending those who are sued because they have written or spoken about matters of public concern, representing those seeking access to government records and proceedings and representing those challenging the constitutionality of laws, regulations or governmental policies or practices that restrict the freedom of speech. See below for the list of participating authors and their corresponding auction dates

This is the third character name auction for First Amendment Project. The first two auctions, held in 2005 and 2006, earned over $170,000 for the organization.

More information about The First Amendment Project and Ebay auction go to:

http://www.thefirstamendment.org/news.html.