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Tag: neo gothic suspence

March 9, 2009 Posted by admin in Blog

THE PRICE OF TRUE LOVE by Anastasia Blackwell

istock_000003152787xsmall-erosWhen Alexandra Brighton first takes the eyes of Ramey Sandeley she is newly married and believes she is in love with her husband. She has been taught to accept a superficial concept of what love means, and her husband,Matthew Brighton, has the perfect pedigree. He is highly attractive, successful, well educated, and offers all the worldly goods one could desire. Yet, when she looks into the eyes of Ramey, she feels a dormant part of herself come alive, and nothing matters except the wild brilliance of this feeling. Ramey is also wildly handsome, successful, and newlywed. But there is a vast difference between the two. At their first meeting something both terrible and wonderful happens.

For the first time in her life, Alexandra comes viciously alive and experiences an explosive desires to run away with this stranger and free herself of the material world.   She's seized by fantasies of riding with him on a winged Pegasus or flying carpet to a world devoid of society - where there are only the two, nature, and nothing else but candlelight, moonlight, bonfires, forbidden writings, crashing waves, thunder, chilling rain, strange bazaars, burning sands, exotic plains, skin on skin, dangerous animals, bareback rides, swinging through trees, danger, inside and out.

In a startling flash, she realizes she is daily judged and heavily reined in by the world around her and nearly owned by a husband who is more master than equal lover. It's now infinitely clear she doesn't even know her husband, let alone understand the nature of his soul. Yet Ramey speaks to her without words - and those unspoken words are powerful. Alexandra has found a true love for her lost soul, but the possibility of their union cannot be achieved until she has claimed the right to this kind of love. And, this will involve many years of great hardship, trials and sorrow.

True Love comes unexpected and unbidden, and when it strikes it  both destroys and creates. It will not be denied. For those who settle for less there is no journey. For those who are bestowed the gift and choose to follow, there is a heavy price to pay. It will be nearly thirteen years before Alexandra once again lays eyes on the man who destroyed what she believed an idyllic life, and awakened the brutality of  true love.  Her days on Black Lake will further peal away the layers of her encased soul to release the divinely idyllic within - the spot where True Love unites. 

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.