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Tag: contemporary gothic romance

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Power Exchange

A perfect  example of power play between a man and a woman can be found in "The House on Black Lake".  In chapter twenty-two, titled "The Beast In The Cage", Alexandra Brighton and Ramey Sandeley engage in a fierce power enchange that leaves each altered and prepared to take their relationship to the next level.

Following is complete chapter:

CHAPTER TWENTY-TWO

The Beast in the Cage

 

I watch a myriad of my reflections in the eyes of the exotic stuffed animals, as I move through the entryway.

          “Where have you been, Alexandra?”

            He moves up behind me, baring touching.

          “What are doing up so late, Ramey?”

          “I might ask you the same question. St. Agathe closes up tight by ten o’clock, unless you’ve been invited to a private party.” 

          “I was invited to a private party.”

          “Was it good?”

          “Beyond words.”

          Ramey digs his fingers into my arm and swings me around to face him. He looks dreadful, with hair sticking up in tufts, the corners of his lips caked with dried blood, and his T-shirt stained with perspiration. What is more alarming are the gray hairs mingling in the growth of stubble on his chin - the first sign of anything that has staked a claim on his perfection. A wave of repulsion rides up my spine and spikes a fit of nausea, disgust unfathomable in my former carnation. The God has fallen from his pedestal. This grim satyr looks and smells like nothing more than a filthy drunk.

          “I need to talk to you; come back to my room.”

          “Take your hands off me. Enough is enough! I don’t welcome the sexual advances of my friend’s husband, or anyone else’s for that matter.”

          “You sure rode in on a high horse.”

           “I’ve paid a high price for my freedom, unlike you. I have no respect for men who seek the safety of the cage and the thrill of the wild, but don’t have the courage to commit to either.”

          “Don’t lecture me, dear.”

          “Fuck you, Ramey.”

          “I don’t take seconds.”

          “Is that so?”

          “What’s that supposed to mean?

          “Where’s Ruth?”

          “She stayed the night in Montreal.”

          He digs his fingers deeper into my arm and guides me roughly through the house.

          “I said no! Let go of me.”

          “Quiet. You’ll wake the children,” he says, then draws me inside the room and engages the bolt lock.

           “Sit down.”

          “I prefer to stand.”

          “Suit yourself, baby.”

          He moves to a hanging chair, upholstered in brocade, with interlocking chains connected to hooks in the ceiling. 

          “I’ve seen your little warlock’s den, Ramey. What are you, some kind of wizard?”

          “I have a fascination with science and magic. Does that frighten you?” he says, and sits in the chair with legs spread wide.

          “You don’t frighten me.”

          “Did you fuck Andre Labat?”

          “Jealousy doesn’t suit you, Ramey.”

          “Answer the question.”

          I’m silent.

          He rides his hands up the chain and draws a tongue over cracked lips.

          “I’m disappointed; I thought you had higher standards.”

          “Why did you row me out to stay in the house on the island?”

          “I love a good game. Terror and Titillation is one of my favorites. I also like Pain and Pleasure. They’re goal posts on the same playing field. Rowing you out on the lake and leaving you there, was like tying you up without tethers. The thought of you alone and frightened got me off - knowing I could set you free . . . or not.”

          “You have a very sick mind.”

          “Freedom can only be attained through absolute containment. The body is a vessel for the soul and the soul is the conduit to the spiritual world. When your body is contained, your soul is released. The soul’s escape is a powerful, life-changing event. And when it happens, there is no turning back.”  

           He stops the motion of the chair.

          “Don’t pretend you don’t understand.” He gets up from the chair and moves across the room to where I stand next to the door.

         “You know exactly what I mean, don’t you? You’ve had a taste of it, haven’t you?”

           I clasp the palm of my hand against my chest to calm my wildly beating heart. 

          “It started in the house, didn’t it? And last night in the hallway, you went there with me, didn’t you?”  

           “Is this the warlock talking? Or do you worship a darker deity?”

          “Yes, it’s happened, Alexandra. That’s why you fell for the pathetic charms of Andre Labat. But giving yourself to that little worm is like a sailor dipping his cup in the sea when he’s dying of thirst. He’ll never be able to quench what I see in you.”

           He stands only inches from me now - so close a bead of sweat drops from his forehead onto my cheek.

         “I made love to Ruth the night we left you on the island and pretended she was you.”

          “Save your confessions for your satanic priest.” 

          “But you had to fuck with it and move into my basement.”  

          “Nothing matters to you, does it, other than satisfying your perverted needs?” I say, and turn to walk out the door. 

          “I didn’t give you permission to leave yet.”

          He blocks my movement to the door.

         “You stay in my house, eat my food, drive my car, and expect me to babysit your son so you can go out and fulfill your perverted needs?”

          “I refuse to defend myself. You invited me to stay in your home. I’m your guest. I will be leaving soon, so you shall be relieved of your burden shortly. And with whom I choose to share my bed is certainly none of your concern. I’m a single woman and free to do whatever I desire. I was once contained, but I had the guts to release myself. You, on the other hand, are completely contained. You wear on your hand the gold band of ownership, proof you’ve been tamed. You are no different than your marked and pierced livestock. You have no claim on freedom. You’re branded, Ramey.” 

          The look in his eyes terrifies me. They are the eyes of a killer.

         “Listen, Ramey, I’m tired and you’re drunk, and this isn’t the best time to have a discussion. We can talk tomorrow if you like, preferably with your wife present. Now, please move away from the door . . . I need to check on Sammy.”

           Ramey’s perfect teeth glimmer inside his parted lips.

          “I want you to consent to a punishment for your behavior, for being such an ungrateful houseguest. Five lashes would be fair, wouldn’t you agree?”

          “This has gone far enough.”

          “Have you ever taken a beating?” 

          “What are you saying?”

          “Have you ever taken corporal punishment from a lover?”

          “I have no idea - ”

           He gestures the bed against the wall, a four-poster bed swathed in yards of parachute silk and covered with a plush crimson duvet and lace pillows.

          “You’re acting crazy, Ramey. I’m leaving.”

           “You walk out that door and I’m taking you and your son to the airport tonight.” He spits out while grabbing my arm.

          “Get out of my way. I’m leaving this room."

          “Go . . .” he says, motioning to the door. As I turn to leave, he whisks me up into his arms and carries me across the room to throw me roughly onto the bed.

          Like a prodded beast inside its cage he paces the room. His eyes glow, dark gray eyes transformed to a vivid gold. Or perhaps the change in color is a reflection of the flames from the studded candles stationed on wood pedestals next to the bedposts. 

          “Stand up and bend over,” he orders.

          “No.”

          “There’s only one way for it to happen. We’re the same you know; we’re the same kind.”

          “I’m nothing like your kind.”

          “I haven’t slept since I met you,” he says in a chilling voice. “I wander through a maze of empty houses filled with dark shadows. When I awake in the darkest hours I want to take you into my arms and lose myself inside you. Some nights I feel I might succumb to the gloom and follow the curse of my legacy.”

           He observes me with a strange curiosity, as though he is aware I have been plagued by similar dreams.

          “We’ve been together since the first moment I took your eyes - the night you walked into the crazy house in the desert on the arm of your asshole husband. You looked like an angel dressed in white, with snow falling outside the windows behind you, and Mozart echoing in the rafters - a fucking angel sent on a mission to destroy me. I’ve waited for you a very long time - it feels like more than a lifetime, and perhaps it is. My quest is only to release you I’ll give you what you deserve, and more importantly I’m offering what you need to spread your wings and fly.”

          “You’re not listening to me. I said no! You are not used to hearing that word, so it may sound foreign to a man like you - one who has never been refused.”

          “There is no other way,” he says with calm assurance.  There’s no other way for you to break out, to crack the shell.  You say you’re free, but you’re not. You took off your ring, but you still live inside the cage. Your perfect world was never your own, and now it’s impossible to return. You can refuse, but we both know it has to happen, sooner or later.”

          “Who are you to lecture me about perfect worlds? If you were true to yourself, you’d be living in hell, or at the least in a cave instead of this castle.”

          He stops his pacing and moves to where I sit perched at the edge of his bed. He grazes his hands along the heavy leather belt holding up his jeans and begins to unfasten the buckle.

          “I could tie you up and torture you with love first, but you don’t deserve it.”

          “You’ve tortured me long enough.”

          “Well then, let’s get to it.”

          “How does beating someone free them, for God’s sake?” I ask, and avert my eyes from what is impossible to explain, ignore, or understand, for that matter, the male thing, the strength of not knowing, wanting to know, what lies beneath.

          “It’s a method used by tribes and most civilizations throughout the history of the world. When used in initiation, to help the initiates ascend to a higher level of spiritual awakening. The experience is powerful for both the giver and the receiver.”

          “How do you know?”

          “I’ve experienced it.”

          I struggle to gather my thoughts. I don’t know how to express my feelings, so I let something deeper take over and speak for me. “You may be a sorcerer, but you are neither my master nor my priest. My body and soul are not for your taking. That privilege is earned through trust and commitment. You are correct. I am not yet free. But when I am, I will only supplicate myself to a man who worships me as much as I worship him.”

          I shift my focus to gaze at a picture in a gilded frame, set on the nightstand next to a crystal bowl of fragrant potpourri. It is a photograph of Ruth and Ramey wrapped in each others arms, surrounded by their five young children, standing in front of a Christmas tree trimmed in colorful balls and ribbons and brimming with dozens of gaily wrapped packages. 

          “We’ve been conjoined by fate, and there’s no turning back,” he says, and a strangled thread of emotion seeps into these words, a mixture of sorrow and regret that makes me shudder. 

          There is a long and terrible silence, a silence like no other. It is the stillness after an upheaval, after the squeal of the tires and the sound of the catastrophe. It is the hush when you know your life will never be the same. It is the dead calm when you have crossed the line of time into a new existence. Something has changed. This interlude of sadism has changed me forever. 

          “Look at me . . . look into the pupils of my eyes, Alexandra. They are the only place in the body where you can look inside the mind and see what it is thinking and feeling.” 

           I straighten myself on the downy silk comforter, wipe the tears from my lashes and gaze directly into Ramey’s eyes.  Beyond the fading anger, I see other emotions flicker. There are nuances of more vulnerable feelings, and something else, more profound and meaningful than the vain and shallow substances floating on the surface. A shadow lurks there; a glint of the unspeakable hides beneath the wreckage of his heart. He holds a terrible secret in the unfathomable depths. It is wild, crazy, unbelievable, and eminent, yet I have no idea what it is.

           “You’re moving away from me, baby. It’s like you’ve fallen into the bottom of a well. You’re crouched down there, but I can’t get to you. I can’t save you.”  

          “Forgive me, but you are mistaken. I didn’t ask you to save me.” I stand up from the bed and move across the room.

           “I believe it’s you who’s looking to be saved. You need to save yourself, Ramey,” I say, then turn and walk out the door.

Power Struggle

 

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The Best Romance Novels

The Following is a list compiled by the Manchester Library, and so offers an English opinion (and they are masters of the genre) of the best written written romance novels in genre of contemporary gothic suspense,  romantic suspense, modern romantic thriller, historical romance, modern romantic suspense.

I will soon be compiling a list with an American perspective of what consititutes the best romance novels of all time.

Not listed in order of preference:

1. Sailing to Capri  An English tycoon dies mysteriously and leaves a note naming six people he suspects might have wanted him dead, by Elizabeth Adler.

2. The Scarlet Thread A British nurse and an American soldier meet, fall in love, and secretly marry during the Second World War. Years after the events of war separate them, a chance meeting brings the couple together to consider their lost love, by Evelyn Anthony.

3. Tregaron's Daughter A young woman from a small English village finds romance and mystery when she embarks on a voyage to Venice, by Madeleine Brent.

4. Rebecca  Classic Gothic tale of love and deception, by Daphne du Maurier

5. Darkwater Gothic romance with deep mystery and danger by Dorothy Eden

6. The Property of a Gentleman  Set in England's Lake District, this novel revolves around the world of art and antiques, by Catherine Gaskin

7. Savannah Purchase  Savannah in the early 19th century is the setting for this novel of romance and intrigue, by Jane Aiken Hodge.

8. The Silk Vendetta Historical romantic suspense set in 19th century England, by Victoria Holt

9. The Shrouded Walls and the Dark Shore  Two spellbinding tales of romance, danger and death , by Susan Howatch

10.  I Came to the Highlands  During the 1700s, with a heavy heart, a young woman leaves America and her true love to accompany her ill and destitute father to his family's castle in the Scottish Highlands. Unwelcome at the castle after her father's death, she is certain her life is in danger, by Velda Johnston

11. The House on the Left Bank In this late 19th century historical novel set in Paris, a young American woman faces many dangers as she seeks to solve a horrifying crime...a classic combination of Gothic romance and suspense. 

12. Shattered Silk The world of vintage couture is the setting for this suspenseful tale of romance and intrigue, by Barbara Michaels

13. Airs Above the Ground. . .The Stormy Petrol Mystery, danger and love await the reader of novels written by this classic romantic suspense author Mary Stewart

14. The Turquoise Mask In this novel by a master of romantic suspense, a woman returns to New Mexico to uncover secrets surrounding her mother's death, by Phyllis Whitney

15. China Silk Despite warnings, a young girl accepts a marriage proposal from a British government official stationed in colonial Hong Kong in the 1920s, by Anne Worboys

CONTEMPORARY ROMANTIC SUSPENSE 

16. Hello Darkness. . . White Hot. . .Chill Factor . . . RicochetPopular author Sandra Brown delights fans with her fast-paced romantic thrillers.

17. A Grave MistakeA novel of mystery, deceit and desire set in contemporary New Orleans, by Stella Cameron 

18. The Cove. . . The Maze. . . The Target Historical romance author Catherine Coulter delivers suspense and romance in her first three FBI thrillers.

19. Illusions The breathtaking mountains of Aspen, Colorado, form the backdrop for this romantic thriller by Janet Dailey

20. Slow Burn, Murder List, Killjoy
An author known for her historical romances pleases her fans with novels of contemporary romantic suspense - Julie Garwood.

21. Danger in the ShadowsIn this novel with Christian fiction overtones, a woman in an FBI witness protection program faces danger when she finds herself falling in love.
 

22. Prior Bad Acts Readers will find spine-chilling suspense and seductive romance in Tami Hoag's thrillers set in Minnesota. 

23. Haunting Rachel Gothic overtones mark this modern romantic thriller, by Kay Hooper

24. Open SeasonA small-town librarian, looking for a lover and trying to reinvent her boring life, faces danger when she becomes the target of a killer, by Linda Howard.

25. Lost and FoundThe world of art and antiques is the setting for Jayne Ann Krentz's novel of mystery and romance.

26. The Wrong Hostage. . . Always Time to Die Elizabeth Lowell is an award-winning master of contemporary romantic suspense, and this duo is sure to please her many fans.

27.  In The Dark A young woman is named sole beneficiary in her estranged aunt's will and then is suspected of murder when her aunt suddenly disappears. Can she trust the handsome investigator to whom she is is helplessly drawn?, by Meagan McKinney.

28. Night Train to Memphis More mystery than romance, this fifth installment in Elizabeth Peters' popular series features art professor, Vicky Bliss.

29. The Midnight Hour . . . To Trust a Stranger Fast-paced suspense with emphasis on romance, by Karen Robards

30. The House on Black Lake An obsession with a charismatic man leads an American woman on a seductive and harrowing journey through the Montreal underground.

31. Midnight Bayou  A winning combination of romance and mystery in New Orleans, by Nora Roberts

32. Hot Ice Exotic Madagascar setting...hot passion... highly-charged suspense, by Nora Roberts. 

33. Expose. . . The Last Lover TV journalist Sally Harrington is featured in this contemporary romantic suspense series
by Connecticut author, Laura Van Wormer.

Courtesy of Manchester Public Library

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Gothic Romance Definitions

I am honoured to be included in a short list of the most reknowned gothic romance writers. Please go to link to learn more about gothic genre, authors, music, architecture at:  https://sites.google.com/site/gothicromantic9/modern-books-and-writers

A.B.

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Music Video "Dangerous Games" to Feature Flying and Static Trapeze

A new music video titled "Dangerous Games" with music composed by Peter Busboom is now in preproduction. It will feature trapeze artists recreating scene from book where Alexandra finds drawn into the allure of the magic glen, where her union with Ramey Sandeley evolves into a ruthless power struggle. 

 

Scene From Magic Glen

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The Mistress of the Perfect White Blouse - Anne Fontaine - Photographs from "The House on Black Lake" Trailer

THE HOUSE ON BLACK LAKE HAS BEEN ADAPTED TO SCREENPLAY. GO TO HOME PAGE TO VIEW PROVATIVE CINEMATIC TRAILER FEATURING FONTAINE OUTFIT.

Novel/screenplay The House on Black Lake features the sexy, French look, with a touch of gothic, gypsy.

The clothing worn for seduction scene in "The House on Black Lake" Trailer were designs from Anne Fontaine, a French Canadian designer with boutiques in majors cities of U.S., as well as international appeal. The white ruffled blouse in photographs is a signature look, as well as the cinched patent belt, black pencil skirt, and fitted blazer with lacing at back.

White ruffled Anne Fonteyne louse with patent leather belt.

Anne Fonteyne White Ruffled Blouse, Patent Cinch Belt, Pencis Skirt.

Photograph of Anne Fonteyne Ensemble from "House on Black Lake" Trailer

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What's Love Got To Do With It?

Is love merely a chemical released when our body senses a desirable reproduction partner, or is there something more divine in the rush of endorphins? That questions in one of the principle themes of my novel.

Reproduction science tells us that within seconds we are measuring every aspect of another being to determine suitability. Overall health, i.e. clear skin, white teeth, shiny hair, clear eyes, etc. are all assessed in the blink of an eye. We also measure physical features, timber of voice, a vast array of clues to whether their DNA is a good match. Smell also comes into play, and with physical touch more information is released. The old saying "it's all in the kiss" is actually true. The saliva carries DNA that tells us the entire physical history of the specimen. We seek mates that will give our offspring the best chance of survival. The rush of love tells us that we have found a good match. Testosterone is released in the saliva of the male and arouses female to complete  act. Love lasts for a good three months, so that at least three tries are given to the quest. The feeling may persist if the act is not successful. If g succeeds, then feelings  transcend to  "love" that is actually routed in the protection of our prized reproduced DNA. This is the belief of science.

Those of a spiritual nature believe that the purpose of love is not to replicate, but to create. Two humans who find love have a far greater capacity to create than they would alone. The goal of most is to find a soul mate, one with whom  common goals and desires are shared.  This may mean the act of reproduction, but in most it means far more. For those who have finished reproducing,  have no desire to raise young, or for those who are drawn to the same sex, the drive for love is just as great, and when a suitable partner is found, the love does not nessasarilydisipate because there is no drive to replicate DNA.

The elusiveness of love remains the subject of scientists and poets. Its beauty and pain are universal. What's love got to do with it? Everything - for without it we are doomed, one way or another.

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Anastasia Blackwell Reads "The House on Black Lake" on Blogtalkradio

I am hosting a radio program on blogtalkradio in which I will be offering an oral interpretation of  entire novel "The House on Black Lake" in a series of episodes. Following completetion of reading, I plan to discuss creation of story, journey to publication and adaptation of screenplay. The radio shows are live, but are archived, and can be listened to at any time.

For more information about my radio show, go to www.blogtalkradio.com.

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Rights to Screenplay Adaptation of Novel "The House on Black Lake" Now Available!

I am happy to announce that I have completed screenplay for "The House on Black Lake". It was a rather simple process - a month of my time - as the novel was written in scenes that I visualized in the form of a movie. As I am an actress and have worked professionally as a producer, a script is what feels most comfortable to me.  Writing a novel is akin to taking on all jobs required in film production. You are writer, director, actor, set and lighting designer,  costume designer, etc. Once I had complete novel, it was a simple matter to record story's dialogue and blueprint.

I was advised in a workshop by acclaimed screenwriter guru Robert McGee that a screenwriter must write a thousand pages first, then write  script. And, that is what I have done. My next step is to get scrip into hands of producer. In the meantime, "The House on Black Lake" is building steam and many related projects are in the works.

A.B.

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The Black Lake Martini - A Delicious and Intoxicating New Drink

For the book launch of  The House on Black Lake, 111 Minna Gallery and Lounge in San Francisco created a new Martini called the Black Lake Martini. The drink is served in the traditional style, shaken with ice and served up. The recipe for the drink is as follows:

2 parts Absolut BERRI acai

1 part  Chambord

1 part  fresh squeezed lime juice, 

 Acai berry settled on bottom of glass.

 It can also be served with a sugar rim, for a more feminie appearing drink. The sweet and sour taste of the drink is both refreshing and delicious. It is the sexy drink to request this summer.

So, the next time you are out on the town, ask for a Black Lake Martini. And if the bartender has not yet heard of the drink, be sure to spread the word.  It's the perfect way  to begin your night's journey!

A word of warning:  Be careful what you ask for - you just might find it!

AB

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TOSH YANEZ AND ANASTASIA BLACKWELL

THE HOUSE ON BLACK LAKE HAS BEEN ADAPTED TO SCREENPLAY. GO TO HOME PAGE TO VIEW PROVOCATIVE CINEMATIC TRAILER.

Pictures feature international model/actor Tosh Yanez and Anastasia Blackwell recreating scene from book during filming of trailer in the Aimee Crocker Room of historic bed and breakfast, Chateau Tivoli.