The Unsaintly

Publication Date: August 15, 2014

It's not enough to question faith. One must wear it as armor against the darkness.

The Unsaintly is the journey of Isabel, the daughter of Louis VII and Blanche of Castile, who devoted her entire life to the servitude of God. When Isabel begins to suffer from stigmata, she learns that it is just the beginning of her role in the fight between Heaven and Hell. Her sacrifice is not great enough when the abuse inflicted by the stigmata she suffers leaves is then replaced by the real horrors inflicted by God's rival; Lucifer.

All that she's learned up to this point will be tested along with her faith, in this horrific story of good, evil, and everything in between.

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Excerpt:

It was a warm, clear summer sky over the trail to the private garden of one of the monasteries in the south of France.  During the hour following lunch and prayers, many of the clergy would tend to the garden.

Among the meticulously cared for roses were statues so lifelike it felt as though they would turn and move at any moment.  Saints with upturned eyes gazing infinitely into heaven were accompanied by angels with open wings playing with doves in the small ponds that trickled with the sounds of the fountain centered in it. Rows and rows of flowers teased the senses.  The aroma was not one that could easily be forgotten as each breeze brought about another waft of fragrance released from the petals that waved gently on the air.

Two men in particular, dressed in monks’ robes, followed the cobble stoned path to a more private area where benches would give them a place to sit.  The soft rustling of their hems passed over their sandals and they both held their hands clasped within large brown sleeves.  The man on the left kept his oversized cowl low over his face, shadowing his features while the other had his hood down, soaking in the light of the day.

Finding a secluded table, the older one was pleased to see the ornate table was topped with marble chess pieces carved by the hands of the monks inside.  He motioned to the empty seat across from him and the other chuckled before accepting the offer, sitting down. The duo seemed deeply engaged in quiet conversation, leaning in as they took turns responding. Every so often one would look over their shoulder or around to keep their eye on their surroundings.  Sometimes, one would even laugh and shake his head at a comment made by the other.

Every now and then, between conversations a piece was moved by one and the other would quietly contemplate his counter.  As light as the topic may have appeared to be, the tension of competition radiated out from both of them.

“This is an age old debate between us” the man on the left said. He then peered up from under his hood at the old man on his right side.  His companion smiled and looked up at the heavens, crystal blue eyes rivaled any ocean and his hair was a brilliant white, betraying his age and wisdom.

The clergy around them never seemed to take much notice of them as they sat there.  The older male on the right removed his purse and opened it to stick his hand inside and throw out some stale crumbs for the birds that appeared to be drawn to him.  Some would sit on his shoulder and sing beautiful songs that birds were never heard to sing.  He smiled at his new feathered friends then leaned forward sliding his piece over a few squares (Nb1-c3, Bc8-g4)[1]. “So it is.  But do I not know all things?” was the reply.

“That has never been proven” Grinned the dark man, sliding another piece into place. "Hasn’t it?” replied the white haired gentleman. A frown came over the older man’s opponent at the move and he refocused on the board as he responded.  Agitation was starting to show through in his voice as he lifted his piece and slid it into position (h2-h3, Bg4xf3).

“You always make it seem as if you knew I would question you.  I disagree.  I think you were shocked to find out that free will was a natural progression of my creation. I was your first, after all.” He chided. “The one made most like your image.” "You’re a spoiled child, Lucifer.  You always have been.”

"Ah, but father, you made me this way and then you cast me away? Discarded like rubbish?” The dark man hissed his reply. “That will make this event all the more, sweeter. I shall, once more, taint your current fascination.  I will once again be that thorn in your side. I will never let you know peace.”

My Review:

A well written book from beginning to end. You could feel the struggle between good and evil and it gave me goosebumps. If you are offended by blasphemy then don't read it but know that you'll be missing out. I look forward to reading more from this author.

About the Author:

Lisa Vasquez was born and raised in Chicago and moved to Houston in 1996 where she now resides. She has always enjoyed reading, horror, movies, the arts, and studying religion. THE UNSAINTLY is her debut book which is the first book in an upcoming series.

Growing up she attended Marquette Elementary School on Chicago's south side. Despite Chicago being one of the largest cities in the United States she has kept in close contact with many of her childhood friends who have shared her common interests and helped inspire her love of creativity, especially in things supernatural or horror related. She is a behind the scenes, co-creative developer for Drive-in of the Damned Radio Show with one of her best friends, Paul Mcvay, who was also part of the same group of miscreants and misfits who might have been plucked straight out of a John Hughes film.

Her mother and father were also born and raised in Chicago, in the south side community of Bridgeport. Her mother stayed home until she was two, then worked for the City of Chicago. Her father was a Vietnam Vet who died in 1995. Her parents divorced when she was just two years old. Lisa used her stories and worlds she created in her mind to cope and entertain herself.

When her mother remarried, her step-father fed and nurtured the creativity with the whole family using songs, art, and skits at home and bringing them to the performances of his local band. Lisa's mother and step-father built a business together from the ground up, and taught her that dreams aren't just far away lands, they can come true with good work ethic, solid morals and a firm grasp of business and marketing.

When her step-father grew ill with end-stage renal failure, Lisa thought her calling in life was to become a doctor. With four kids and a full-time job, she went to school to pursue it but became disenchanted with the system and lack of encouragement, not from friends and family but surprisingly from peers, and the school itself. "There was little help for those that really wanted it, and might be struggling because they had other obligations. There seemed to be more resources and opportunities for those that didn't have families, jobs, or other obstacles. Money and loans may buy your seat, but it wouldn't buy your success."

Releasing the strings of that dream, she went on to focusing on her writing which had continued to be her comfort and her friend in darker times. It would release tension, dark thoughts, depression and questions within her that often left her lying awake at night, unable to sleep.

She describes each character she creates as the monsters, alter egos and extensions of her "personalities". Every conflict, love, debate and struggle they go through will relate in some way to something she's gone through, told through a delicately woven world her mind has created in a time when she needed it the most.

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