Eric, Try building a little "annealing oven" when you start to do
it. You can use soldering pads or firebrick and basically construct
an open-sided "box" or "tent" out of them, with the opening facing
toward you (i.e., not on top). Place the piece inside and torch
Not only can you see the glow clearly due to the darkness inside the
oven, I've found that you anneal much more quickly, due to the
reflective heat from the firebricks being retained around the piece,
instead of dissipating in the room air.
I do this routinely for mokume stacks as well, because they take so
darned long to anneal in the early stages. Works like a charm.
Hope this helps!