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New Romantic Fantasy, 'The Chamber of Curiosities', Explores Life in Ancient Carnival

Seductive new Romantic Fantasy, The Chamber of Curiosities , by Anastasia Blackwell, is now available in both paperback and ebook on Amazon.

The tale chronicles journey of charismatic, Darne Veskka, featured as 'The Human Beast' in 'The Chamber of Curiosities', and  beautiful young aerialist, Clare Dupree, who's obsession drives him to fight for his freedom. Set in an ancient land, where 'Coin is King', they join forces with kindred spirits to plot against debauched governors who enslave them.3d render white

 

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New Romantic Fantasy Delves into Sensuous World of Ancient Carnival

READERS NOTE: Seductive New Romantic Fantasy, The Chamber of Curiosities is now available. Be the first to read, review and discuss the provocative book. The love story between a charismatic carnival giant and a beautiful aerialist blends the romance of Beauty and the Beast and intensity of Game of Thrones. Many taboo themes and sinful acts are explored including:

  1. Cheating hero
  2. Adultery and infidelity
  3. Older woman/younger man
  4. Crazy Love
  5. Obsessive/Possessive/Jealous men and women
  6. Forced Love
  7. Alpha Males
  8. Betrayal
  9. Powerful Alpha Females
  10. Winged Human

It is an erotic tale, a love story, and filled with adventure and self-empowerment.

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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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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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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