About The Author
Paul DeBlassie III, Ph.D., is a psychologist and writer living in Albuquerque who has treated survivors of the dark side of religion for more than 30 years. His professional consultation practice — SoulCare — is devoted to the tending of the soul. Dr. DeBlassie writes psychological thrillers with an emphasis on the dark side of the human psyche. The mestizo myth of Aztlan, its surreal beauty and natural magic, provides the setting for the dark phantasmagoric narrative in his fiction. He is a member of the Depth Psychology Alliance, the Transpersonal Psychology Association and the International Association for Relational Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy.
Background of the book: 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 abused 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. They become anxious, depressed, or suffer a terrible emotional breakdown. I’ve treated them, helped them, and they helped to inspire the story of The Unholy!
Balancing life and writing; It’s a matter of listening to the energy coming from self, family, and friends so that nothing tips more one way than the other and the creative juices stay flowing rather than being depleted by excessive writing and are therefore constantly in a state of being replenished. I had a music teacher who once told me to practice or play up to the point that I feel bored, that the energy for it has been spent, and then to stop for the day. That’s what I do with writing. I stay with it, hit the page running each day, and go for as long and with as much intensity as I have for the scene that I’m writing. Then, I stop. And, if I don’t stop I’ll have nightmare that night that I’m being seduced and used by the muse and that such a thing could lead to utter ruination. There are horror stories about this. Writers in the stories feel the tug to write, the muse senses that someone is taking the bait and then the writer is hooked and reeled in. So, if I let myself be hooked and reeled in then I lose my balance. There is something to being hooked and reeled of course, but the true and balanced thing of it happens when it comes from a hook and a reeling that is my own and not one that causes me to be possessed by something other than my own common sense. After all, what matters is the living of life, and living a good one to the best of one’s ability, writing only a part of that.
Where do ideas come from? Ideas come from the deep repository of the collective unconscious mind that inspires images and symbols during the fantasies of waking life and during dreams and nightmares. Mainly, it’s the nightmare stuff that bodes best for writing psychological thrillers and dark fantasy such as is in The Unholy. When I wake up in a cold sweat with the characters of the novels threatening me (I remember when Archbishop William Anarch, sinister prelate in The Unholy tormented me for nights on end, demanding that I not write the story) that’s when I know that real inspiration is flowing and that to listen to it and follow the images and symbols that emerge from my deep, unconscious mind during sleep and during the reverie of writing the story will end up in the development of spine tingling realities that jettison both me as the writer and the reader into phantasmagoric realms that have a way of shaking up conscious mindsets and get our heads blown out in a very, very unsettling but ultimately useful way. My writing, in other words, comes from an inner place of torment that needs to be let out so it can be set right. When mind stuff is set right inside me I can feel it by sensing a quality of being at peace, that I’ve written to the best of my ability and been true to the deep, archetypal energies swirling through my mind during the narrative. It really is a trip to listen to ideas, let them become images, and suddenly have them take over a page. It’s like the pages catch fire and everyone has come to life and things become disorderly, fraught with conflict, and danger looms.
Advice for writers If you’re feeling the impulse to write it’s because you have writing in you so do not stop no matter what inner or outer critics have to say because it’s not about going down a dead end road and then giving up so much as taking turns in the road as they present themselves. Write and never stop. I read a famous horror writer state that each writer needs to know when they should just give up. Completely, totally, and utterly I disagree. There is no giving up for the authentic writer, one inspired, called by the gods. Writing is matter of sanity and life. To not write for a writer is no more possible than to not breathe. Writers everywhere keep on writing. Never has there been more opportunity to write and be published. Even being published is secondary. Write and never stop because at some point and in some way you’re going to hit a stride that will catch a publishers eye and they’ll want to take you on. So, as far as advice for writers, stay with it, never ever give up, catch your stride and without question you will one day meet up with your publisher and audience. Lastly, when despair comes over you as a writer, take it as a good thing since usually behind all things shadowy there is a truck load of potential. That potential eventually reaches consciousness providing that despair is understood as a fallow time and nothing more or less than that. It’s not a dead end. It’s a turn in the road or redirection of sorts that sends the writer deeper so she or he can listen with greater sensitivity and ultimately discover fresh inspiration.
About The Book
Book Genre: Psychological Thriller
Publisher: Sunstone Press
Release Date: August 2013
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.
Lightning streaked across a midnight dark sky, making the neck hairs
of a five-year-old girl crouched beneath a cluster of twenty-foot pines in the
Turquoise Mountains of Aztlan stand on end. The long wavy strands of her
auburn mane floated outward with the static charge. It felt as though the
world was about to end.
Seconds later, lightning struck a lone tree nearby and a crash of thunder
shook the ground. Her body rocked back and forth, trembling with terror. She
lost her footing, sandstone crumbling beneath her feet, and then regained it;
still, she did not feel safe. There appeared to be reddish eyes watching from
behind scrub oaks and mountain pines, scanning her every movement and
watching her quick breaths. Then everything became silent.
The girl leaned against the trunk of the nearest tree. The night air
wrapped its frigid arms tightly around her, and she wondered if she would
freeze to death or, even worse, stay there through the night and by morning be
nothing but the blood and bones left by hungry animals. Her breaths became
quicker and were so shallow that no air seemed to reach her lungs. The dusty
earth gave up quick bursts of sand from gusts of northerly winds that blew so
fiercely into her nostrils that she coughed but tried to stifle the sounds because
she didn’t want to be noticed.
As she squeezed her arms around the trunk of the pine tree, the scent of
sap was soothing. Finally, the wind died down and sand stopped blowing into
her face. She slowly opened her eyes, hoping she would be in another place,
but she was not; in fact, the reality of her waking nightmare was more obvious
Wide-eyed with fear at the nightmarish scene playing out before her,
she clung to the tree. In the distance, she saw her mother raising a staff with
both hands, her arm muscles bulging underneath her soaked blouse. Directed
straight ahead, her mother’s gaze was like that of an eagle, her power as mighty
as the winds and the lightning. The girl loved her mother and, through her
mind, sent her strength so that she would win this battle and the two of them
could safely go away from this scary place.
The girl turned to follow as her mother’s gaze shifted to an area farther
away and so dark that only shadows seemed to abide there. To and fro her
mother’s eyes darted before fixing on a black-cloaked figure who emerged from
behind a huge boulder surrounded by tall trees whose branches crisscrossed
the sky. He was much bigger than her mother, at least by a foot, and his cloak
flapped wildly as winds once again ripped through the mountains.
Swinging a long, hooked pole, the man bounded toward her mother like
a hungry beast toward its prey. His black cloak looked like the wings of a huge
bat as they reflected the eerie light of the full moon. As his pole caught the
moonlight and a golden glow bounced back onto the figure, the girl saw his
face with its cold blue eyes that pierced the nighttime chill. He seemed to grow
bigger with each step, and the girl’s heart pounded so loudly that she was sure
he would be able to hear it.
The stranger stopped a short distance from the girl. Crouched low
between rows of trees, trying to make herself disappear, she saw him clearly as
he threw his head back and let out a high-pitched cry like a rabid coyote. The
air crackled. Thunder struck. Lightning flashed. She was blinded and then
could see again.
Quick as a crazed coyote jumps and bites, the man struck her mother, his
black cape flapping wildly in the wind.
The girl leapt to her feet, her legs trembling, her knees buckling.
Straining to see through the branches, she was terrified.
The moon vanished behind dark clouds rolling overhead. Then came
a scream of terror that cut to the bone. Now the night was lit up again by
lightning flashing across the mountain range, and the girl could see the blackhooded
man hit her mother again and again.
Her mother crumpled to the ground and stopped moving.
The girl’s hand flew to her open mouth, stifling a scream.
The man stood over her mother, his long pole poised in the air, ready to
A twig snapped in the forest, and the girl spun toward the sound, holding
her breath. Then she saw three gray forms slowly creeping toward her
through the darkness and recognized them as wolves. She was not afraid as
they encircled her, their warm fur brushing her skin. One after another, the
wolves lifted their snouts and looked into her eyes, each silently communicating
that she would be protected.
Her mother cried out again. The girl turned and saw her rising to her
feet, then striking the man’s chest with her staff.
As he batted his pole against her shoulders, her staff flew out of her
hands, landing yards away in a thicket of scrub oak.
Her mother screamed and blindly groped for it.
The girl jumped up, then stopped when the black-hooded figure looked
her way. Tears clouded her vision, and all she saw was darkness. Tears rolled
down her cheeks, dropping into the tiny stream of water running beneath the
tree she was clutching. She looked down and saw the dim reflection of her
As she peered through the trees to catch sight of her mother, a wailing
wind blew the man’s cloak into the air, making him again look like a monstrous
bat. Once more he swung his rod high and smashed it against the back
of her mother’s head. She saw and heard her mother’s body thump against the
hollowed trunk of the lightning-struck tree and slump to the ground. The evil
man bent over her mother’s limp body and howled.
Suddenly, the girl felt arms encircle her waist, and she was swept away,
deeper into the forest. She sobbed and at first let herself be taken because she
had no strength. But then she became angry and started pushing against the
arms carrying her, trying to escape and run back to her mother. She wanted to
make her mother well, and then this nightmare would stop and they could go
“Hush now, child,” said a voice she recognized as that of her mother’s
closest friend. “The man cannot harm you, mijita, as long as you are with us.
We will make him think you are dead. But you must be very quiet. Ya no
llores,” the woman warned, raising a finger to her lips.
The woman then carried her into a dark cave illuminated by the light
of a single candle. The cave was frightening, with shadows of what appeared
to be goblins and demons dancing on the red sandstone walls. “I will return for
you soon. You will be safe here,” the woman said. The girl watched the woman
walk away, shivering as a breeze blew through the cave’s narrow passages.
Closing her eyes, she rocked back and forth—imagining herself safe in
her mother’s arms—then opened her eyes to the light of the full moon shining
through the mouth of the cave. The shadows on the walls were just shadows
now, no longer goblins and demons. As she slipped into a trance, images
flickered in her mind. She saw the woman who had brought her to this place
scattering pieces of raw meat around the open mesa where her mother had
struggled, helped by two other women the girl could not identify.
Suddenly, the scene shifted to a stone ledge jutting over the mesa, and
she heard the pounding footsteps of a man running toward the women. The girl
felt her heart race and her breathing quicken, afraid that the bad man would
spot them and kill them. Then the image shifted again, and she now saw on the
mesa three gray wolves circling the raw meat and the man walking away from
the granite ledge. As he left, she heard his thought: The child is dead.