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The First Step in a Hero/Heroine's Journey is Knowing What You Want - by Anastasia Blackwell


What I Want – A Manifesto

      What I want is to love with pure abandon and animal instinct.  

      What I want is to love to others in a way that feeds them and makes them feel strong, enabled and secure. 

      What I want is to teach my children to own their voice - to become adults free to express themselves in their own unique way.  I want to create a nest that will stay with them as long as they live - as they face the wonderful and terrible challenges of life. I want them to shake up the world and make it a place where freedom of personal expression is embraced by everyone, not just the select few. I want them to fight for the oppressed and raise the consciousness of those who take power through oppression.  

       What I want is to touch the soft skin  and look into the innocent eyes of a newborn baby, and to look into the gleaming wrinkled orbs of one who has lived long -  to learn about the journey that will take me to the end of my days. 

       What I want is to express all I am, my creativity, my spirituality, my zest for life, my fears about life, my hopes and dreams for the future, my desire to change the status quo, to search out new and different ways to live.

      What I want is to understand all around me, the animals, birds, fish trees, insects, and the unseen life that share our world. I want to soar with the birds and swim with the dolphins.  I want to dive into the mysterious world beneath the oceans and the lakes, to look for pirates booty hidden in ancient ships covered with barnacles and moss.  I want to protect the creatures of the earth and to understand them and their unique societies.

       What is want is to investigate and probe into the past, into the peoples of past ancient societies.  I want to find the secret mysteries of the ages hidden in codes and relics of the past.  I want to help them resonate and be heard once more.  I want to make the words set in stone, tablet and parchment come to life.

       What I want is to try everything once and a few things many times more, to renew my passion.  I want to feel the rush of adrenaline as I swing through the trees and run through the paths of the jungle.  I want to drive a convertible fast through hot, dusty towns, and feel the sun burn my skin and the wind whip through my hair.  I want to stop next to a waterfall by a lazy stream and love my mate with the sun smiling down upon us – like Eden – like we had returned to the Garden of Eden.

       What I want is to find the most exotic and beautiful our earth has to offer - crusty glaciers, jagged mountains, pillows of snow, blue ice and burnt earth, deep craters, dense jungles, glorious red sunsets, burning hot sands, and torrential rains.  I want to walk with naked feet on the burning sands of the desert, and to stride from the warm azure waters onto the sugary sand of a tropical beach.  I want to run from the natives, and have them catch me and carry me to the Chief, who will teach me his wizardry and the secret ways of those who have lived with the earth and nature for millions of years.

      What I want is to touch the finest silks, and drink the finest champagne, and taste the richest and most delectable foods that the finest chefs have to offer.  I want to see all of the great art of the world – in every museum, to hear the great masters of every form of music, to see and touch the rarest of gems, to watch actors make me gasp and cry and want to live on the stage – because they are so alive and so human.

      What I want is to ride a horse free, without reins, bucking and snorting and galloping through the plains, through the habitat of the natives.  I want to know their customs of the tribes, their secrets and to dance with them around their bonfires.  I want to sleep in a tent and hear the roars of the lions in the Serengeti, to ride a camel to the base of a pyramid, to sit in a teepee warmed by a bonfire in the desert, and to join the shaman as they cast their spells at the peak of a mountain near Machu Pichu.

      What I want is to believe that there are extra terrestrials.  I want to learn what they have to teach me.  I want to walk a crop circle and feel the energy and try to understand the mathematics that it teaches – to square the circle, to learn more able DNA, to learn about how we are all the same and yet, so remarkably different.

      What I want is to change the world in some small way, to help revolutionize the way people think about their lives – to help them understand this is only a small blink of time and the mores and customs we thing invicible, are only that - just mores and customs - not the word of God written in tablets of stone.

      What I want is to be uncensored about how I spend my time,money, or my life.  I want to to love anyone who inspires my creativity or my physical passion.  I wish no to be defined by age,physical characteristics or social status.

      What I want is to understand the spiritual elements of life.  I want to get closer to God and whatever else is out there to guide and elevate me to a higher plane of consciousness.  I want to find the divine in myself and in my mate and all of the creatures of earth.  I want to be taken up into the clouds, into the heaven of spiritual delights.  I want to know ecstasy here on earth.

      What I want is to tame the predator in me, and to give the victim the strength it needs to search for power in action and self realization.

      What I want is to forgive those who have transgressed against me, who have victimized and treated me with disregard as they fed themselves what they needed to prosper and survive.  I want to help these people find the light, help them find the brightness in themselves to nourish and protect them, so that they no longer need me to sustain them.

      What I want is to share my passions and visions, hopes and dreams for the future in all of my relationships.  And particularly I want to share this with my mate.  I want my mate to accept all that I am and to take me deeper into myself.  I want to look into eyes that are as deep as the sky, promising new worlds to explore, never-ending possibilities.  I want to be fearless with this person.  I want to take their hand and learn to fly.

      What I want is to find the “diamond” that is now hidden from me; the one that is not easily found, but when discovered is strong and brilliant and everlasting.  And when I find that “person”, I want to create a light together that will transform the world.  

      What I want is Peace – a peace that is pure and beautiful.  I want a peace that is not an oasis in the desert, but rather, a way of living, a way of living life that is simple, and real and true.

      ALL I WANT - is to be me.

     What do you want? 


Anastasia Blackwell


The Heroine's Journey to Romantic Renaissance


  Paradigms for women are terribly outmoded.   Shall we stay at home, or shall we work?  Neither glamorous options, most would admit.  There is rarely the sense of purpose, romance and danger in the nest, or the sterility of the workplace. So, the marketplace becomes the focal point of passion, a place to feel the rush of something beautiful and new.  Unfortunately, nothing bought can sooth the hungry soul.  Our closets overstocked; we have nothing to wear.  As Andre Labat advises Alexandra in The House on Black Lake, “The self must first be known before it can be clothed or accessorized.”

But the old ways are crumbling, and as we fear the loss of our power to obtain goods, we are actually gaining the power to attain something far greater.  As women delve deeper into themselves and begin to take the heroine’s journey, a new paradigm will evolve – a far richer reality, incorporating creativity, artistry, self expression, fearlessness, adventure and possibly fierce romantic love. 

In Maureen Murdock’s book, The Heroines Journey, she writes, “In the myth of romantic love, a woman is said to search for a father/lover/savior she thinks will solve all her problems.  The unspoken message is - I don’t have to figure out what I want to do.  I can live his life.” Men comply with the societal expectation that they take care of a woman and protect her from taking her own journey. They perpetuate the belief that she need not take a heroic journey. A man’s sense of self is enhanced by rescuing a woman.  Women are waiters.  Women are trained into a sense of expectancy.”

Women have not been taught how to take their Heroine’s Journey.

“In most fairy tales the woman is taken out of her state of waiting, her state of unconsciousness, and dramatically and instantly transformed for the better.  The catalyst for the magical change is usually a man.  Snow White, Cinderella, Rapunzel, Sleeping Beauty, Eliza Doolittle all share variations of the same prince.  When the transformation of the heroine really occurs, however, it is usually the result of not rescue from without but of strenuous growth from within, and over a long period of time.”

 The journey comes first, like the Hero, and the voyage of discovery leads to personal riches.

The transformation of the heroine is what leads to romance – it cannot happen until she is whole.


Anastasia Blackwell






Twilight and The House on Black Lake - Women's Hunger for Neo-Gothic Romance - by Anastasia Blackwell

vampiresI grew up in a damp town in the Pacific Northwest, much like the one protrayed in the novel, Twilight. And, like author, Stephanie Meyer, the characters and plot of my book came from the fabric of my dreams and subconcious flights of fancy.  In fact, she brought her hand to paper (or keyboard) at nearly the same time I was drawn to tell my tale.  My inspiration was the experience of being rowed out and left to stay in an abandoned Victorian on an island.  So terrifying, it stayed with me and germinated for many years, until I was ready to take a journey to the underworld.

Twilight is a teen's tale, written for the young adult market, yet has drawn women of all ages. My novel, The House on Blake Lake is written with the mature woman in mind - but I hope it will also be of interest to teenager girls.  Both reflect the hunger women (and many men) feel to fully experience hidden desires and powers.  During my formative years, living in a mill town on the Oregon coast,  the only source of passion and drama (beyond the screen) was in church.  My passions repressed, the tortured characters in the stained glass lived out full lives - fearless, brave, strong, sensual, erotic, blessed, and tortured. There were miracles and magic, candles burning and the smells of the exotic. Their's was a world both horribly repressed and viciously carnal.  The seeds of all we wished for, but could not have,was contained in the sainted images of those gothic structures.

In this time of transformation, as institutions falter and the gatekeepers waver on the precipice, it is possible to be brave and fight one's way from the underground - in a Neo Gothic Resurrection.  This is a time where the old rules can be broken and those who wish can seek to fulfill their most creative desires.  The damsal in distress has been replaced by a new kind of woman - a strong and independent human being with a thirst to unite with those who will empower her.  We all seek to be complete and this can only happen through our own resurrection and transformation.  Truth is Beauty and Beauty Truth. In Twilight, as in The House on Black Lake, it is a woman's hunger for love and union that brings out what is most beautiful inside and gives us the strength to own our  true essence.

 Our hunger is our beauty.

Anastasia Blackwell


Are Romance Novels Taboo?

ist2_6340140-vintage-love-book1When I set out to write The House on Black Lake, I did not consider the genre of the book. I only knew I had a story to tell that was so powerful, it consumed much of my time and passion for the next four years.  When the book was fully edited, I was told I must find a genre to market my book to a niche audience.  My editor had warned me that many agents will turn you down outright if you mention the words "romance" or "erotic."  So, I chose "psychological thriller", an apt title for a book about a woman's journey into the dark shadows of herself.  However, I quickly realized I was on the wrong course.

I solicited a second opinion from another agent, asking for an analysis of the first few chapters. I was aghast when she informed me my book was a "contemporary gothic romance", or "erotic gothic romance." I  professed to have never read a tawdry romance or erotica novel, although I had read many erotic and romantic literary works. I associated the former with lonely women locked in loveless marriages, who lived their lives through others.  These books were certainly not for an independent and adventurous woman such as myself.

Some have called romance novels porn for women, and they, with only a few exceptions, are generally viewed with distain by the literary commununity.  Of course, it is a fact that many romance novels are poorly crafted and feed off the needs of women who desire to lead more vibrant lives than allowed by mainstream society.  Yet, there have been masterpieces of romantic literature, most promintently Du Maurnier's Rebecca, the Bronte sisters and the works of  Jan Austin.  Whether or not they deserve respect, the romance and erotic factories are where the majority of books are sold, in times of affluence and in time of depression. Romance and erotica are what a large population of women want, despite the taboo.

Yet, it can be successfully argued that every book is a romance novel.   In every genre of fiction, romance drives the novel. Love/ Passion for "someone or something" creates conflict and drama. Even in the most male driven books, some kind of romantic influence generally finds its way into the plot.  So, all books incorporate elements of  romance, and it is time to come out of the closet.  Human beings strive for love and a sense of completeness with an opposing other.  It is true of both men and women.

I chose the genre,"Neo Gothic Suspence," not because I want to avoid stigma and lose readers like myself,  but because it would be redundant to call it a "romance novel".  The House on Black Lake is a journey into a woman's soul.  It is highly  provocative,  romantic and erotic, because that's want we want- taboo or not.