Thursday, January 30, 2014

Aztlan, Curanderas, and Faith in The Unholy

Interview with Brent Nichols of Fantastic Adventures:
I get the impression that The Unholy is a book only you could write, because of the setting, and because of your own background. Let's start with the setting. Tell me about Aztlan. Aztlan is the mythopoeic realm of the mestizos (mixed bloods of southwestern United States). I am mestizo. Aztlan is New Mexico, especially  the region of Albuquerque (southern Aztlan) and Santa Fe (northern Aztlan) and extends to the four corners area. Spirits, dreams, visions, and natural magic are woven seamlessly into everyday life.
 Your protagonist, Claire Sanchez, is a curandera, a term which roughly translates as "Medicine Woman." What exactly is a curandera? What led you to choose this occupation for your heroine? A curandera is a healer. She spoke to me as the story evolved, told me who she was and told me of her struggle to find herself. The path of a healer is fraught with danger. She dramatizes the life of so many women and men seeking to face their fears, find themselves, and walk the path of healing, natural magic, and life.
Faith and religion are central themes of The Unholy. You explore the abuse of religion and the conflict that can come from spirituality. What would you say is the central theme or message of Unholy? What impact are you hoping to have on your readers? The central message of The Unholy is Religion Kills. It is made explicit at the end of the tale. News media broadcast Religion Kills as they describe the battle between the evil Archbishop and the young curandera.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Pondering the Muse!

  1. Pondering the muse. Pondering the muse is nothing I want to do too up close and personal. It’s like looking for too long directly into the sun. It’ll blind you. While I was finishing up some of the final writing of the Unholy, my daughter, Victoria, a sculptress, would warn me, “Dad, be careful..the muse will always want more and more. She’ll take over your life if you let her.” I’ve more or less listened to the wisdom coming from my daughter and I’ve found that doing so has served me well. The muse and I stay on good terms so that I don’t burn myself out or blow myself out with the white hot energy that is present during the writing process. I leave the desk each day knowing that I’ve left some in and that is the way it should be. I don’t want to keep going and listening to the sirens who beckon to me to go a little further, a little more into dark creative waters after a full day already spent giving birth to the words, sentences, paragraphs, and scenes. I pay respect to the muse at the end of each in the secret way that I do, leave her and myself wanting more but leaving the more on the table. That way there’s something for me to return to, refreshed and ready, the next day. You know, as I am writing this I see the muse, and she smiles knowingly and hopefully. She hopes one day I’ll listen to her and be seduced into more and more and more and not stop…and this is a good thing to know because then maybe by keeping it in mind I’ll keep my balance between truth to self and heeding the call of the muse.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

What Kind of Writer Am I?

What kind of writer am I? "Don’t tell anyone, but in the quiet moments of my day and in secret times of contemplation I admit to myself that I am a horror writer. I balls out write horror. I clean it up and say I write psychological thrillers and dark fantasy; but, rock bottom its horror. It’s my own kind of horror that is quite different in many ways from what is out there in the marketplace. I see huge volumes with convoluted tales. The old horror master, my true inspiration and guiding lights, wrote without ungainly complexities. There was good and there was evil and they were set at life threatening odds with one another so that the reader was scared to death because they had secretly wondered if something like this could ever be or ever happen and the old masters brought that dark wondering out of the cupboard and set it loose on the earth. That’s what I do, can’t clean up except when I feel compelled to in professional and academic societies of clinical psychology and psychoanalysis. But, more and more I’m making my way out of the closet and saying plain and simple that I’m a horror writer. Yikes…there…I said it…wasn’t bad…tooo baaad…Yikes! You can see by my conflict how the only way for me to write is to unplug from this conflict and get down to the nitty gritty and be the horror man. This is what jazzes me and makes me write…pure, raw, human fear and horror..the stuff of this writer’s life." 
----BookLanders Writer's Review

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Lozen...Strong Personality for the New Year!

"The medicine women of northern Aztlan were women of Lozen, named after a sister to Apache chief Victorio, a skilled prophet and warrior who was said to have asserted, 'Lozen is my right hand...strong as a man, braver than most, and cunning in strategy. Lozen is a shield to her people.' She had inspired women, frozen with fear, to cross the surging waters of the Rio Grande as they fled from their oppressors. Apaches proclaimed that she had had supernatural abilities on the battlefield and such heightened intuitions that she could discern where the enemy was and how many they numbered. Like her, the women of northern Aztlan had sufficient spiritual powers, strong personalities, and force of the human spirit to effect healing."

This quote from The Unholy emphasizes the healing potential of a strong personality. Belief in self sets loose transformation of body and soul. Caring for significant others balances strong energy. Energy directed toward self balanced by sensitivity to others humanizes us. Moving into the new year with strength, the interior fortitude of Lozen, unleashes energy for life

Intuitions that lead to insight come from such faith. This is healing from the inside out. It happens as the result of a robust soul. People of hardy disposition face problems and work their way through. The symbol of Lozen in The Unholy activates feminine energy. It sees us through problems from the inside out. When we are in order on the inside, as Lozen, there is energy to do what needs to be done, to work things out, to completion.

Now, at the start of 2014, we can draw within and take stock of our lives, put things in order from the inside out. This sets in motion the working of a strong personality symbolized by Lozen. The ability to take stock, look back at what has been experienced, learned from, now at year's end comes from the archetypal realm, the spiritual world. Lozen symbolizes the archetypal self, the capacity of the human spirit to take stock and change and grow!