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Blackwell BLACKED OUT 1-18-12

Protect freedom of speach. Sign petition against SOPA and PIPA today.

http://sopastrike.com/strike

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2012 Edwardian Ball and Faire

The 2012 Edwardian Faire and Ball will be held in San Francisco on January 20-21,  I plan to attend to get inspiration for my  nearly complete new novel. "The Chamber of Curiosities" is a love story between a charismatic circus freak and a beautiful young trapeze artist set in carnival on a bastion overlooking the sea in land on the brink of revolution. 

More information about the event, including evocative pictures, maybe be found at:

http://edwardianball.com/2012-events

What, dare say, is The Edwardian Ball?

THE EDWARDIAN BALL is an elegant and whimsical celebration of art, music, theatre, fashion, technology, circus, and the beloved creations of the late, great author Edward Gorey. Set in “Edwardian” times, this multi-media festival has grown over the past decade from a small underground club night into an internationally recognized event, even earning the blessing of The Edward Gorey Charitable Trust.

Costumed and enthusiastic attendees, traveling from as far as Australia, Japan, and the UK, flock to this San Francisco tradition for a delightful blend of ballroom dancing, live music, riveting stage shows, DJs, fine art galleries, a vending marketplace, absinthe cocktails, steam machinery, parlour games, sideshows, and more. All ages are welcome and appropriate in this darkly humorous and elegant setting, where literary aficionados rub elbows with insect-like creatures parading on stilts… where historically-accurate Edwardian recreationists waltz by a steam-powered tea garden… where the only guiding rule is that you join in on the fun!

The Edwardian Ball has been called “the quintessential must-not-miss event of the year,” “a defining annual San Francisco tradition,” and “a literary circus of the highest caliber” for good reason… come see for yourself!

Please note: The House on Black Lake has been adapted to screenplay - go to Home Page to see teaser trailer

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25 Sexiest Alpha Heroes in Romance Novels

Please note: Go to Home Page to view cinematic trailer and new music video for The House on Black Lake.

Scene from "The House on Black Lake" trailer

Every romance novel has at least one sexy hero, many books have numerous objects of desire. Each individual has their own notion of what is sexually appealing, so all tastes are different. However, there are a number of alphas who appeal to a broad range of women and are consistently mentioned as the sexiest of the breed.

In the House on Black Lake there are three alphas competing for the sexiest slot, although only one will merge a hero.  Ramey Sandeley is the scion of an old Montreal family as well as a successful entrepreneur with preternatural good looks and devilish charm, Georgie La Pointe a glamorous French Canadian rock star with a flare for dangerous love, and sultry French artist Andre Labat a master of romance and seduction.

The top 25 sexiest heroes are in no particular order.

1. Thomas Walker - Smoke in Mirors by Jane Anne Krentz

2 Luthor Malone- Running Hot by Jane Anne Krentz

3. Rafe McCay - The Touch of Fire by Linda Howard

4. Elvis Donnelly - Exposure by Susan Andersen

5. Jacob Caitlin - Tell Me No Lies by Elizabeth Lowell

6. Jack Sheridan - Virgin River by Robyn Carr

7. Joe Ramsey - Tempt Me Tonight by Toni Blake

8. Derek Taggart - Kept by Jami Alden

9. Iain MacKinnon - Surrender by Pamela Clare

10. Dageus Mackeltar - The Dark Highlander by Karen Marie Moning

11. Alex Markov - Kiss An Angel by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

12. Jared Maxwell - Condition of Marriage by Emilie Rose

13. James Diaz - Cry no More by Linda Howard

14. Burke Halifax - Betting Hearts by Dee Tenorio

15. Colby - Guilty Needs by Shiloh Walker

16. Theo Buchanan - Mercy by Julie Garwood

17 Max - Wild Orchids by Karen Robards

18. Hunter Hawksworth - Stranger in My Arms by Lisa Kleypas

19. Derek Craven - Dreaming of You by Lisa Kleypas

20. Jacob Jarmon - Tender Torment by J. Archer

21. Zsadist - Lover Awakenedby J.R. Ward

22. Jamie - Outlander by Diana Galandon

23. Broderick - Ransom by Julie Garwood

24. Bones - Night Huntress by Jeaniene Frost

25. Ethan MacCarrick - If You Deceive by Kresley Cole

 

 

 

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Private Justice Can Be Yours If You're Rich

The following article was written by Michael Hiltzik for the Los Angeles Times, March 16, 2006.

Note from Author: A terrifying experience in a haunted house on an island in Montreal segued with cruel treatment in the chambers of a private judge, and "The House on Black Lake" was born. The use of private judges is only legal in a few states, but what is most disturbing are the states  that allow laymen attorney to don the robe of a judge and precide over trials.

                                                                                         ***

       You don't need me to tell you how grand it is to be rich in California. You don't have to care about the condition of public education because your kids go to private school. You don't have to worry about higher park fees, because you can lock up access to your private beach and hire thugs to run off any riffraff who get near the water. You don't have to do your own gardening, because there are plenty of illegals around to trim your perennials.

        And you don't have to subject yourself to litigating your private disputes in open court, because you can buy yourself a judge to run interference for you - under cover of the state Constitution, no less.

        If your private judge violates state judicial rules and bends the public court system to your personal ends, what's the downside? Your judge is outside the reach of the state's disciplinary system for misbehaving jurists. If your case happens to involve matters of manifest public importance and interest, too bad about the public. After all, the system belongs to you.

        Many states allow retired judges to fulfill limited judicial roles - as referees in evidentiary disputes or as fill-in udges to relieve docket gridlock, for example. But California, apparently uniquely, is much more liberal. Its Constitution allows attorneys and ex-judges to conduct actual trials in the guise of temporary jurists. Once selected by litigants, they're sworn in as Superior Court judges and endowed with almost all the powers and authority of any active judge.

        They then proceed to abuse their power. Documents and hearings in the cases before them are supposed to be public, but often the papers don't end up in public files, trial schedules are kept secret, and even those that leak out are held in private offices behind layers of security. The sealing of a court document is an important decision that involves a core principle of the public judicial system; these judges do it all the time, secretly, simply by sticking sensitive papers in their briefcases and dodging requests for access.

        So justice ends up belonging, like a private preserve, to the rich and powerful - indeed, anyone who can pay a judge $400-$500 an hour. It's unsurprising that the public knows little about this system because the judicial establishment isn't even sure how widespread it is; court clerks don't keep a tally of how many cases are tried by privately temporary judges.

        Instead of reining in this system, the Legislature is preparing to expand it. A bill to give temporary judges the authority to seal many documents in divorce  cases is currently moving through Sacramento, despite  evidence that temporary judges have overstepped their nonexistent authority in the past.

        The corrosive influence of this two-tier system is hardly a secret. In 1992 when a plan to expand the authority of private judges came into consideration by the court administration came up for consideration Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Robert H. O'Brien complained in a letter that that a double tier system - one for the wealthy, one for the poor (or even not so wealthy)" was a "real evil." He dismissed the complaint that public dockets were jammed - as a "feeble rationalization" for the creation of a money making scheme.

        One corrupting feature of the process is the immunity of privately from from disciplinary action. The state commission on judicial performance, which has the power to remove ordinary judges from the bench, has no jurisdiction overy temporary judges, even when they misbehave. Even a county's  judge is powerless to force temporary judges to comply with local procedural rules.

        Why should we care about this? Not only because the very idea of a two-tier justice should enrage every citizen but also because as conditions get better for the privileged they become worse for everyone else. As long as the wealthy and powerful can buy their own civil justice the system goes to hell, and the road to its collapse will become even steeper.

The complete article may be viewed at:

http://articles.latimes.com/2006/mar/16/business/fi-golden16

 

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25 Sexiest Christmas Gifts for Men - 2011

Please Note: Provacative trailer and music video for The House on Black Lake may be viewed on Home Page.

The way to a man's heart may be through his stomach, but the way to his passionate love is through electronics. No one can deny the glazed over eyes and dreamy smile of a many gazing at a piece of electronic equipment. So, if you desire to turn you mate into a passionate, obsessive, possessive lover buy him the sexiest piece of electronics you can find. Then, place a love note inside. Trust me, you will be receive back in spades.

The hottest electronic gifts on the market are:

1. Apple  computer $1,100+

2. Samsung Galazy $560+

3. Nikon D3100 camera $549+

4. XBox 360 + Kinect $279+

5. Apple I Phone 4G $650.00+

7. Apple I Pad 2 $500+

8. Go Pro Camcorder $150+

9. Garmen Nuvi Traffic and Maps $550+

10. Kindle Fire 7" wifi $200+

11. Apple IPad $600+

12. Panasonic Blue Ray Wifi DVD Player $200+

13. Video Games for XBOX 360 $60.00

14. Tag Hauer Men's Chronograph Watch$2,000+

These items are not electronic, but you can also succeed with metal:

15. Ray Ban Aviator Sunglass (toss in a set of handcuffs if you like) $86.00+

And a hot scent:

16. Davidoff Cool Water Deep Mens Cologne $55.00

Maybe the touch of silk:

17. Silk boxers $15.00 for sleep or under anything.

Perhaps your man prefers a little pain:

18. Gift certificate to a favorite tattoo parlor (create your own design if you like)

Leather is always nice:

19. Leather Belt  $45.00+or Leather Driving Gloves $25.00+. Ask him to try the belt on for size, then tell him you love the ripping sound of a belt being pulled off - you play with fire if you tell him to keep the gloves on after checking for size.

Adrenaline gifits:

20. Skis, snowboard, water skis, scooba, camping, rock climbing, fishing gear, etc. - whatever excites his passion. Gear turns most men on for some inexplicable reason.

21. 2 tickets (or better yet season tickets) to his favorite sports team or music group. If you buy tickets for concert be sure to buy a few of his favorite CDs to get him in the mood.

22. Computer/video Games that jump start testosterone - watch him play - or play with him

23. Gift certificate for an adreniline rush - such as sports car racing, sky diving, flying trapeze, hot air ballooning. Buy 2 tickets get crazy together. Remember: fear is the greatest aphrodiasac.

For romantic types:

24. Gift certificate for couple's massage at your favorite spa + other exotic forms of pampering his nails, feet, and skin. The feel of another woman's touch will only cause him to desire you more. Then again, why not do it all yourself!

25. Gift certificate for B + B in the mountains or at the beach, a romantic dinner. OR,  create the same mood in your home with a hearty fire, his favorite food and wine, and use the money saved to buy a sexy outfit and lacy new lingerie.

The list is only the beginning ideas gifts.  The only limitation is your wildly imaginative nature.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

 

 

 

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50 Great Love Scenes in Romance Novels

Please Note: The House on Black Lake Trailer may be viewed on Home Page.

A love scene in a novel (as in real life) reveals the innermost characteristics of the individuals involved. Physical strength or weakness, depth of passion, creativity, hidden fears and sorrows, need to control or degrade, to surrender or dominate, shame and pride, fetishes, tenderness, empathy, repressed memories, boldness, cautiousness, secrets, flaws and scars, deformity, and exquisite physical perfection can be revealed when the cloak of civilization is thrown off and humans revert to their animal nature. The circumstances of a mating can be highly romantic or base and ugly. No matter the social status of the individuals, age, nationality, relationship, or gender it is always a primal act, unscripted, and powerful in emotional resonance. Whether cruel and disgusting or highly gentle and romantisized love scenes are unscripted dramas that tear away the monotony of daily life. The act may result in the creation or transformation of life, that is its overriding power. There is an aura of spirituality to love scenes, and for those who seek a higher level of excistence making love to another is the key to another realm.  

In The House on black Lake Alexandra is a world weary mother struggling through a devastating divorce. She has not had a lover since her husband, and has never experienced a deep and satisfying physical connection with a man. In her journey on Black Lake she encounters three men with whom she experiences powerful emotional reactions. Charismatic Ramey Sandeley awakened something deep and unknown years ago when she first took his eyes on a snowy night in the desert. Her life dramatically changed in that moment, but she has not been able to consummate her feelings as he is a married father of five. However, the intense attraction leads Ramey to lure Alexandra into increasingly dangerous scenarios. Andre Labat is a young French artist who seduces Alexandra into an afternoon of love in his bungalow where he teaches her about the nature of love and the power of trust. Georgie LaPointe is narcissistic rock God and Cousin to Ramey who grooms his hair in the eyes of his lovers and makes love to recordings of his singing. Georgie introduces Alexandra to the dark side of sensuality. As a repressed woman Alexandra's experiences with these powerful men are clothed in an atmosphere that may appear forced, but she is not necessarily an unwilling victim and reacts in a manner true to her desires. Through her journey on Black Lake Alexandra is transformed and empowered as she learns to accept "the beautiful freak" inside her, the lonely soul that seeks  love without boundaries and the pursuit of passion at all costs.

Most rarely see acts of love, so novels offer opportunities to find inspiration in respectable forms of art.

The best love scenes in romance are featured in the following novels. The list was culled from talking to readers and through romance sites (including Amazon). They are in no particular order, although many believe "Flowers from the Storm" deserves first place. Some say Lisa Kleypas is the foremost master of of the romance novel love scene.

1. Flowers From the Storm by Laura Kindsdale

2. Goddess of the Hunt by Tessa Dare

3. When He Was Wicked Bridgerton Family Saga by Julia Quinn

4. One Dance With The Duke by Tessa Dare

5. Pleasure for Pleasure Ellis Sisters, Book 6 by Eloise James

6. Dangerous to Love by Elizabeth Thornton

7. The Diamond Slipper, by Jane Feather

8. The Serpent Prince by Elizabeth Hoyt

9. The Raven Prince by Elizabeth Hoyt

10. Outlander by Diana Galbadon

11. Dreaming of You by Lisa Kleypas

12 Suddenly You by Lisa Kleypas

13. Tempt me Tonight by Toni Blake

14. Match Me if you Can by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

15. Natural Born Charmer by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

16. Ride the Fire by Pamela Chase

17. Heart of Fire by Linda Howard

18. Devil in Winter The Wallflowers, Book 3

19. Midsummer Moon by Laura Kinsdale

20. Suddenly You by Lisa Kleypas

21. Then Came You by Lisa Kleypas

22. Princess of Fire by Shannon Drake

23. Mad, Bad Duke by Jennifer Ashley

24. Madness of Lord Ian Mackensie by Jennifer Ashley

25. Again the Magic by Lisa Kleypas

26. Love Storm by Susan Johnson

27. Wicked by Susan Johnson

28. Absolute Pleasure by Cheryl Holt

29. The Viscount Who Loved Me by Julie Quinn

30. The Valley of the Horse by Jean M. Auel

31. Heaven, Texas by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

32. Surrender A MacKinnon Ranger's novel by Pamela Chare

33. The Leopard Prince by Elizabeth Hoyt

34. Green Darkness by Anya Seton

35. Passion by Lisa Valdes

36 The Proposition by Judith Ivory

37. Years by Lavyrle Spencer

38. His Second Hand Wife by Cheryl St. John

39. Wild Oats by Pamela Moisi

40. Between the Devil and Desire by Lorraine Heath

41. Married by Morning

42. If you Dare by Kresly Cole

43, If you Desire The MacKarrack Brothers Part 4 by Kresly Cole

44. Thunder and Rose by Mary Jo Putny

45. Hot Shot by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

46. Highlander by Karen Marie Moning

47. Thornbirds by Collen McCullugh

48. Night Magic by Karen Robards

49. Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase

50. Shadow and the Star by Laura Kinsdale

 

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One Voice - A Writer Sparks Revolution

The protesters that began the expansive "Occupy Wall Street " movement are examples of the power of One Voice. They are not alone in the history of uprisings that have changed the course of history.

In my case,  a terrifying experience in a haunted house on an island outside Montreal  segued with injustice in the chambers of a private judge in the family court system. At the time, I felt I had no voice. So, I began to write the story of a world-weary American woman's story of transformation and empowerment in the French Canadian underground.

I wrote the following piece to remind myself that one must be brave and speak the truth for the good of the world.

                                                                                                                                                                         One Voice

     A man sat at an ornate  desk and gazed at a blank  parchment. On the paper he had agreed to write  a proclamation, a fiery statement that would be delivered to the King and all of his courtiers and officers. it was a document that  would irrevocably alter his life.

     He  realized he was jeopardizing everything he owned and held sacred. The lovely estate he had designed himself  and furnished with artifacts from around the world, the gardens he had tended and nurtured would be confiscated.  His servants would be out of jobs - employment they needed to survive. His cherished family would lose their comforts, and his wife would be reduced to working in the households of the nobles, if they would  take her at all. The prospects of his children be would horribly altered. His daughters' marital opportunities would be diminished and his sons' opportunities limited to those of farmer or laborer, rather than gentleman.

     Even worse, he understood if he wrote and signed the proclamation he would  likely be hung by the neck in the gallows. He would be publicly humiliated in front of his wife and children and all of the community that  looked up to him as a man of high position. Once he finished putting ink to the parchment his life as he knew it was over.

     Five men waited for the document - the well positioned men had chosen him to create the first draft. He had only written a few words, then just a few paragraphs, when he was compelled to stop. He was aghast at his own vehemence - he had called the King a tyrant! Surely the others would think him mad for using such an explosive word.

     Then, like one possessed, his pen began to scratch at the parchment, his hand desperately seeking to keep up with the words raging from his mind. Once he had written of the horrible deeds of the King against his countrymen, the lost lives and futures, insults to dignity and honour, crimes against his comrades, his brethren - there was no turning back. He completed the deed and signed the document with relish.

     The man gently picked up the parchment, still wet with the black ink from the crystal ink holder given to him as a present from his beloved father, and walked from the sun drenched room. His carriage waited outside, and within the hour he delivered the document to the five illustrious men. To his surprise, they did not attempt to edit his words, instead they reinforced them by signing their names. Then, it was delivered to the Commission, where each added their name to the list.  His voice became stronger as each signed the document, and it soon became a throng of cries from citizens who had been mistreated for too long.

     The voice of the man at the desk has never stopped speaking. His voice caused the downfall of a government. His voice helped to create a new constitution based on its precepts. His voice has resonated through three centuries, and continues to speak throughout the world. One man's proclamation is now viewed by most of mankind as  Divine Right - the Divine Right of the Individual for Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It marks the birth of democracy.

     The man was Thomas Jefferson and his proclamation -  The Declaration of Independence.

                                                                                      xxxx

     May we all be bold and brave in standing up for our God given rights -  and those of our  comrades.

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Best Betrayers: Top 25 Worst Acts of Betrayal in Romance Novels

Please Note:  The House on Black Lake has been adapted to screenplay. Go to Home Page to see trailer (with acts of betrayal) and haunting new music video "Dangerous Shadows" inspired by novel.

An act of betrayal by a lover or mate is generally acccompanied by severe emotional distress by the betrayee. Cheating is the most common form, but the act can take many forms, including emotional betrayal. Few women (or men) can forgive and forget such a transgression, as trust is severed with the act. However, when one is deeply in love the decision to walk away can may extremely difficult. Generally, there must be a long period of groveling and the belief that the transgressor has truly learned a valued lesson and can be trusted to maintain integrity in the future. This process is a torturous one for both individuals.

Although living through such an experience is pure hell, it can be therapeudic to vicariously live through the experience of a character in a novel. In fact, much can be learned of human behavior through this process. In the House on Black Lake Alexandra is betrayed at every twist and turn on her journey. Both men and women betray her throughout the story. However, each character is forced to confront the ramifications of their selfishness, while Alexandra's character is strengthened as she learns to become more self reliant, intuitive, and emotionally grounded. Ultimately, when it appears she has been betrayed by them all and most cruelly by Ramey Sandeley, the object of her obsession, her dorment strengths are awakened. Metamorphosis is possible following an act of betrayal. And that is its greatest gift.

The top romance novels featuring acts of betayal are listed below. The list was culled from romance forums and discussions with readers. In no particular order.

1. Dream Man by Linda Howard

2. Perfect sin by Kat Martin

3. Lady Gallant by Suzanne robinson

4. Risk Everything by Sophia Johnson

5. Coyote's Mate by Lora Leigh

6. Almost Forever by Linda Howard

7. The Missing by Shiloh Walker

8. Cry No More by Linda Howard

9. Pulled by Danielle Bannister

10. Angel Creek by Linda Howard

11. Loving Evangeline by Linda Howard

12. My True and Tender Love by Jill Gregory

12. Seducing Simon by Maya Banks

13. That Scandalous Night by Christina Dodd

14. Total Surrender by Cheryl Holt

15. Paradise by Judith McNaught

16. Kingdom of Dreams by Judith McNaught

17. Belong to Me Shayla black

18. Heart of the Outback by Lynn Wilding

19. Take this Regret by Amy Lichthench

20. Gold Ring of Betrayal by Michelle Reid

21. Blue Moon by MacKenzie McKade

22. Bitten by Kelly Armstrong

23. His Bonnie Bride by Hannah Howell

24. Last Chance by Christy Reece

25. Tempt Me Tonight by Toni Blake

 

 

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"Dangerous Shadows" from "The House on Black Lake" is First Documented Music Video for Novel

"Dangerous Shadows", a new HD music video based on novel "The House on Black Lake" by Anastasia Blackwell explores the contemporary gothic suspense in a unique form. Filmed by award winning cinematographer Frazer Bradshaw with original music by Andrew Oudot, the moody piece incorporates flying and static trapeze acts.

The video was filmed at author Sam Keen's Sky Ranch in Sonoma and incorporates Trapeze Pro, a circus skills school located on the property.

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Halloween 2011: Treat Yourself to Dark/Sexy New Music Video "Dangerous Shadows"

Get into spirit of Halloween by viewing new music video "Dangerous Shadows". The video stylistically recreates harrowing scene from "The House on Black Lake" by Anastasia Blackwell. The moody piece was filmed at author Sam Keen's ranch in Sonoma by renowned cinematographer Frazer Bradshaw. Evocative music was scored by Russian composer/filmmaker Andrew Oudot. Corset by Timeless Trends.

To view video go to Home Page or click on link below:

http://youtu.be/tIWOoAT7DhQ