Thursday, June 12, 2014

Torment and Religious Abuse!

Interview with The Story Behind the Story:

The story comes out of over thirty years of treating patients in psychotherapy who are survivors of the dark side of religion…have been used and The Unholy 7abused and cast to the side. I’ve seen that when this happens people, those around the victim, to include family and friends, often turn a blind eye and deny what has happened. Rather than writing a self help book I decided to approach this realm of human suffering in fiction. To tell a story moves the reader into a deep and unconscious dimension that bypasses conscious defenses, leaving us open to truths that otherwise would be blocked. So, dramatizing the dark side of religion, pulling what can be the most vile and evil, and pivoting it against an innocent and sincerely searching soul leaves the reader on edge, hopeful, but unsure as to what will happen and who in the end will survive…a truth conveyed symbolically and dramatically. To have written out a list of what to do or not to do in the midst of religious abuse might have helped some individuals, but would have left many people stone cold because there is no emotion is such guidance. In The Unholy, the story is pure emotion, fear and rage and hope and challenge, that inspires and frightens and causes us to stay up late at night in order to finish the story. Dream and chronic nightmares plagues people who’ve gone through the horror of being abused within a religious system. It could be emotional, spiritual, physical, or sexual torment—or all of the above—a true encounter with the unholy—that people undergo during childhood or adolescence or adulthood.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Religion...Terrifying and Damaging!

A recent interview about The Unholy in The Writer's Life eMagazine asked, "I know you've had some specific experiences in your role as a psychologist that led to your decision to write this book. Tell me about that."

I commented, "Religion can be both terrifying and damaging. I help people to heal from the dark side of religion. Decades of such experience led me to write this book and the ones that will follow. Each phantasmagoric story, much like The Unholy, plumbs the dark and light sides of human nature and spiritual experience."
Dark and light infiltrate human experience. What we do with them is what matters. To collude with the darkness of deceit, in the case of The Unholy, deception within a religious context, deadens the soul, extinguishes life. Claire, the protagonist in The Unholy, wrestles with the matter of deceit versus truth to self.
Deceit versus truth to self spiritually is no easy wrestling match. Our lives can depend on it, the decision, the outcome. Claire must either run from what she sees and knows or face it and deal with what comes.
Terrifying and damaging is the dark side of religion, but so is the running from what must be considered, dealt with, as a matter of life and death, consciousness, and personal integrity.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The Making of a Horror Writer!

Blood Moons and Nightscapes Interview:

The Making of a Horror Writer:

I have to state something that I hope is not a cliché. But, I really believe writers are indeed born and not made. Of course, it takes years and years of work, reading, writing, and editing and editing and editing before things come together. This is definitely the making of a writer, but the initial stuff needs to be there. I couldn’t be a computer programmer or software engineer for all the oolong tea in China. It’s just not in me. However, I do have it in me and have had it in me to write and write till I get it right. If we’re born with the inspiration, if we want to write, then something is there. In The Unholy I had to keep going, the inspiration and compulsion were so strong that the energy literally felt as if it was electric and going to shoot out my fingertips and the top of my head if I didn’t write it out. The making of a horror writer, one who wants to write about the dark side and thrills of the psyche, is about doing what you feel when it comes to putting words on the page and letting no one dissuade you. There is discouragement, but that only comes when we need to step back a bit and rest. If we are patient and don’t enter into the Hades Hall of Abandoned Hope then we’ll find that energy returns. The making of a writer is about writing and never stopping the writing, letting it come together as it does in its own way and in its own time.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

All In A Book Review of The Unholy!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Blog Tour + Review: The Unholy by Paul DeBlassie III

The Unholy by Paul DeBlassie III

Release Date: August 1, 2013
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Sunstone Press
Pages: 203
Format: eBook
Source: Review copy for Tour
Goodreads • Amazon • B&N • Kobo

A young curandera, a medicine woman, intent on uncovering the secrets of her past is forced into a life-and-death battle against an evil Archbishop. Set in the mystic land of Aztlan, The Unholy is a novel of destiny as healer and slayer. Native lore of dreams and visions, shape changing, and natural magic work to spin a neo-gothic web in which sadness and mystery lure the unsuspecting into a twilight realm of discovery and decision. Paul DeBlassie III, PhD, is a psychologist and writer living in his native New Mexico. A member of the Depth Psychology Alliance, the Transpersonal Psychology Association, and the International Association for Relational Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy, he has for over thirty years treated survivors of the dark side of religion.

Having witnessed her mother's death at age five, Claire has spent her entire life rejecting her heritage as a medicine woman. Instead, she focuses on her patients at the local psychiatric hospital, which is run by the Ecclesia Dei. However, when dark undertakings by the church's hierarchy begin to effect her patients and her personal life, Claire must assume her birthright as the sole remaining member of a prestigious line medicine woman.

In a town where everyone is under the Ecclesia Dei's thumb, Claire faces oppositions from all sides as she fights to unveil the corruption of the church. There is a sickness at the heart of the church that only she can cure.

The Unholy is certainly an ambitious undertaking: combining elements of mestizo culture, christianity, and classic fantasy tropes. DeBlassie's novel has a lot going on and sometimes it was difficult to keep everything straight, but it was entertaining every step of the way.

It's been a while since I've read a classic hero's journey, so it was kind of refreshing to be reacquainted with the archetype. Claire is a quintessential heroine: orphaned at a young age, refusing to assume her destiny/birthright, and, ultimately, reconciling her past with her future. It's a bit trite. I didn't mind in the slightest, but I can see how others might.

The main antagonist is the archbishop (don't worry, it's not a spoiler; you figure it out early on), and he actually confuses me. I mean, just as Claire is your archetypal heroine, he is your consummate villain--complete with a deal with the devil and everything! But occasionally there were shades of grey thrown into his character, but they were never fully expanded upon. It was unfortunate, really; DeBlassie could have given his villain another dimension but failed to do so. Actually, there were many characters who were never fully developed. It's understandable; the backstory to the plot was intricate and time-consuming. So it's really no surprise that some of the major-minor characters were flat, but it was still a little disappointing. I think I was just expecting a plot and characters as intricate as a Song of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones) installment, though. Which is just ridiculous on my part.

But despite my hang-ups, I really did enjoy this story. It has a complicated background, but it is simplified by its adherence to a basic plot. Ultimately, it all balances out into a well-composed, engaging story that will have you admiring its peculiarities.

However, I have to add this disclaimer: I can easily see people being offended by its portrayal of religion, and I would caution reader's to take it with a grain of salt, so to speak. I personally didn't mind it--everyone is entitled to their own beliefs--but I certainly don't want to lead any reader astray. You have to be fairly confident that you can handle blatant contempt for what may or may not be your beliefs. If you can, this book is worth the read; if you are uncertain, I would suggest you hold off.

But as always, the choice is up to you! I enjoyed it--I think most will--but, as with all books, it's not for everyone.

So, if you want a well-written hero's journey, I would definitely add this to your shelf.

About the Author

Paul DeBlassie III, Ph.D., is a psychologist and writer living in Albuquerque, New Mexico who has treated survivors of the dark side of religion for more than 30 years. He is a member of theDepth Psychology Alliance, the Transpersonal Psychology Association and the International Association for Relational Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy. Dr. DeBlassie writes psychological thrillers with an emphasis on the dark side of the human psyche. In The Unholy, a young curandera, a medicine woman, intent on uncovering the secrets of her past is forced into a life-and-death battle against an evil archbishop. Set in the mystic land of Aztlan, The Unholy is a novel of destiny as healer and slayer. Native lore of dreams and visions lure the unsuspecting into a twilight realm of discovery and decision. 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Book Review: Deal Sharing Aunt!

Book Review--Deal Sharing Aunt on The Unholy!
"This book reminded me of the inquisition and all of the religious persecution from the past. The beginning when she saw her mother get attacked felt like it was straight out of a horror movie. The description and how she hugged the tree made me want to go to the forest and help her escape. There was a lot of religion in this book, but not the kind you would expect at church. There was definitely a dark side to the characters. I also liked the natural medicine that was in the book. This book was very involved and I recommend reading it in a quiet place without interruptions. I thought that the ending fit the book well. I am giving this book a 4/5. I was given a copy to review, however all opinions are my own."

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Albuquerque Alibi Book Review!

Recovery in Aztlan

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The Unholy

Paul DeBlassie IIISunstone Books
Paul DeBlassie III’s The Unholy is a frightening thriller that details the struggle between the forces of good and the forces of evil. Set in the mythical land of Aztlan—the legendary ancestral home of the Aztec—DeBlassie’s novel is infused with the scents, sounds, and traditions of the author’s native New Mexico. The vividness of the sensory description adds to the mystery and otherworldliness of the novel’s theme and setting.
At the heart of the novel is Claire, a 25-year-old mental-health healer and natural therapist who lives with the painful childhood memory of her mother’s untimely death. Orphaned very young, Claire is raised by her mother’s close friend, a kind, strong woman and respectedcurandera who often reminds Claire that she is one of the last in a line of revered medicine women known as the Lozen. Though Claire is reluctant to take up the burden of that destiny, it seems that she is unable to escape it, as it becomes clear that the forces of darkness that killed her mother now have Claire in their sights. Her spiritual powers and psychic gifts intensifying and sharpening as she comes of age, Claire finds that she must do battle with the evil organization behind her mother’s death, or risk her own life and the lives of those she loves.
The placid and traditional land of Aztlan, with its deep connection to nature and the nearly forgotten old ways of healing, has long been dominated by the powerful, ambitious, and greedy organization called the Ecclesia Dei—itself a rather thinly veiled caricature of the Catholic Church. Head of this soulless and fanatical group is the aptly named Archbishop Anarch—a man who will stop at nothing to achieve total spiritual and temporal control of the people of Aztlan. A truly evil creature, the Archbishop aims to destroy Claire and the traditions of the curanderas. Will Claire be able to fight the Archbishop and win, or will the struggle cost her her very soul?
The Unholy’s stark and unrelenting opposition of good and evil, though providing fodder for a fast-paced and thrilling storyline, allows little room for the many shades of gray with which most humans are painted. The author’s deep and varied experience in psychology and in working with those who escape religious fanaticism would seem a fascinating background against which to develop a more nuanced, subtle investigation of the ways in which religious zealotry can manipulate the psyche. Nevertheless, The Unholy will delight lovers of suspense and horror, and will likely strike a chord with those who have known an evil archbishop or two.