I am very happy to be hosting Lynda Hilman at Book’d Out today. I have just finished the second book in her series, Blood Therapy, following on from The Vampire Shrink featuring Kismet Knight, Vampire Psychologist. The third book, Crimson Psyche is to be published by Jo Fletcher Books in January 2014.
Hilburn’s dark contemporary fantasy series begins with The Vampire Shrink when the therapeutic treatment of a vampire wannabee plunges psychologist Kismet Knight into a paranormal subculture she refuses to believe exists. She considers her patient’s tales of vampire hypnosis and blood drinking a product of a desperate young girl crying out for attention until she meets Devereux who claims to be 800 years old and declares Kismet his soul mate. Yet Kismet is still unwilling to succumb to what she is sure is nothing but mind tricks and illusions even when she confronts bodies drained of blood and wakes trapped in a coffin after being kidnapped. Despite Kismet’s determination to deny the entire absurd situation she finds herself in the middle of a vampire war, and at the mercy of a psychopath.
The story continues in Blood Therapy as, still reeling from the so-called vampire murders around Halloween, Dr. Kismet Knight is trying to adjust to her new otherworldly clients and her unique relationship with drop-dead gorgeous nightwalker Devereux. She can’t deny her attraction to him, but is his intoxicating hold on her a loving embrace or vice-like grip? And while Devereux has been clear about what he’ll do to any immortal who lays a fang on her, Kismet is still being stalked by Lucifer, the obsessed bloodsucker targeting therapists for death. With Kismet scheduled to make a presentation at the American Psychological Association’s New York conference, handsome FBI agent Alan Stevens feels it’s too risky to let her go without him. Not only is he concerned that the conference is a psychologist smorgasbord too juicy for Lucifer to pass up, but there is also some unfinished business with Kismet to be settled. Can Alan – or Devereux – track down the elusive Lucifer, or is Kismet destined to confront him herself?
My review of Blood Therapy will be posted later today.. .please read on for a special post from Lynda and an excerpt from Blood Therapy.
The Truth About Hypnosis by Lynda Hilburn
Since Dr. Kismet Knight, has a hypnosis session in BLOOD THERAPY [Kismet Knight, Vampire Psychologist book #2], and I’m a certified clinical hypnotherapist myself, I thought it would be fun to write a little about hypnosis.
Then, stay tuned for an excerpt from BLOOD THERAPY.
What is Hypnosis?
You’re driving down the road, lost in a daydream, and you suddenly notice that you’ve driven past your exit, or you are miles farther than you remember driving. Welcome to the wonderful, normal, every-day experience of hypnosis!
Although hypnosis is often portrayed as being a sleep state (which it isn’t), hypnosis is actually a state of heightened awareness – an experience of focused attention. A normal tool in our consciousness toolbox. And, although it might be fun to remember scenes of stage hypnosis – which fall into the category of entertainment – where people were clucking like chickens or wearing bags on their heads or taking their clothes off or howling like wolves, those things have little to do with the art and craft of hypnotherapy. And, since one can’t be compelled to do something in hypnosis that one wouldn’t ordinarily do, there is always an element of choice at work.
Some of the other definitions of hypnosis used in the past are: Hypnosis is guided daydreaming; Hypnosis is a natural, altered state of consciousness; Hypnosis is a relaxed, hypersuggestible state; Hypnosis is a twilight state; and Hypnosis as a process of influential communication.
And even though a pleasant by-product of hypnosis is profound relaxation, being relaxed isn’t necessary for hypnosis to occur.
Misunderstandings (Myths) About Hypnosis
Hypnosis is caused by the power of the hypnotist.
False: All hypnosis is self-hypnosis, the client is in total control and chooses to follow the hypnotherapist.
Only certain kinds of people can be hypnotized.
False: Everyone can be hypnotized. As with everything, trance comes easier for some than others. As Milton Erickson said, there are no resistant clients, only unskilled hypnotists.
Anyone who can be hypnotized must be weak-minded.
False: Ability to be hypnotized is not correlated with any personality traits.
Once someone has been hypnotized, one can no longer resist it.
False: If a client chooses not to go into trance, she/he will not.
One can be hypnotized to say or do something against one’s will.
False: The conditions necessary to effect such powerful influence (such as brainwashing via torture, etc.) do not correspond to the typical therapeutic encounter.
Being hypnotized can be hazardous to your health.
False: Hypnosis itself is not harmful, but an incompetent practitioner can do some damage through sheer ignorance about the complexity of each person’s mind or through a lack of respect for the integrity of each human being.
One inevitably becomes dependent on the hypnotist.
False: Hypnosis as a therapeutic tool doesn’t in and of itself foster dependencies of any kind.
One can become “stuck” in trance.
False: Trance is a state of focused attention, either inwardly or outwardly directed. It is controlled by the client, who can initiate or terminate trance as she/he chooses.
One is asleep or unconscious when in a trance state.
False: Trance is not sleep. The client is relaxed yet alert.
One must be relaxed in order to be in trance.
False: Trance is concentrated attention. Relaxation is not a prerequisite.
Hypnosis may be used to accurately recall everything that has happened to you.
False: The mind is not a computer. Memories are stored on the basis of perceptions, and are subject to the same distortions as perceptions. Memory is not reliable.
Hypnosis is different from daydreaming, guided imagery, visualization, meditation.
False: Those are different words for the same phenomenon.
Deep trance is necessary in order for hypnosis to be effective.
False: In process-oriented hypnotherapy (as opposed to stage hypnosis or medical-model hypnosis) powerful transformation is experienced in light, medium and deep trance.
Blood Therapy Excerpt: Fear of Fangs Group
The afternoon proved to be highly productive.
I met with several clients, updated case files, filled out required paperwork, returned phone calls and practiced the hum. It was already getting easier. I knew my human clients had no physiological effect on my brain – although a few resistant souls often made my head feel like it was going to explode – but I enjoyed practicing my new conscious trance state during their sessions. It was exciting to realize I could be as, or even more, effective functioning from a deeper level of mind.
Since the bleak winter day had been overcast – we’d gotten several inches of snow in the last twenty-four hours – darkness began creeping in by late afternoon. I checked the clock and arranged chairs in a circle. My Fear of Fangs group members would be popping in soon for our third meeting. I never would’ve suspected so many vampires had biting issues.
Sitting behind my desk, I breathed deeply to prepare myself for the increasing fear level, and waited for the participants to arrive. Only four members would be attending. The two other regulars were taking the night off. One of the no-shows, Betty, a former actress and current histrionic bipolar, called and said she wouldn’t be leaving her coffin this evening due to having difficulty breathing. Apparently, being dead wasn’t enough of a clue that breathing was optional. And the other, Medina, a suicidal, two-century-old blood-drinker with depression, kept using the same methods she’d used as a human to try to kill herself. She knew none of the familiar approaches would work, but she couldn’t break the pattern. According to her roommate, she’d jumped off a skyscraper again and was incapacitated until she healed.
Should I send a get-well card? A regenerate-your-limbs soon card? My night-walking clients were nothing if not creative.
Chain arrived first. True to his name, he wore chains around his neck, through his belt loops to hold his baggy blue jeans up, wrapped around his “biker boots,” and encircling his wrists. Tall and thin with long, stringy black hair and dull gray eyes, he wore his well-loved Harley jacket. Swaggering over to my desk, he hitched a hip on the corner and said, “Hey, doll. Let the party begin.”
To the casual observer, Chain appeared to be one tough bloodsucker.
Looks could be deceiving.
“Hello, Chain. Remember we talked about you calling me by my professional title? You’re practicing being respectful, right?”
“Sure, doll, I mean Dr. Knight. Whatever you say.”
“Thanks, Chain. Go ahead and take a chair.”
Lucille silently appeared. “Hello, Dr. Knight. I hope I’m not late.”
“Hello, Lucille. As usual, you’re right on time. Please find your seat.”
“Well, if it ain’t Mother Superior, come to join the sinners,” Chain said, referring to the fact that Lucille, who usually came to group wearing tight, revealing clothing with big hair, tonight sported a floor-length nun’s habit, complete with veil and a long, rose quartz rosary around her neck. Her vivid green eyes sparkled in her pale face. A wisp of brown hair peeked from the white coif on her head. Like many schizophrenics, Lucille experienced religious hallucinations as part of her illness.
“Chain? Is that respectful? I asked.
He slouched down in his chair, sulking. Chain’s diagnosis was antisocial personality disorder, mediated by extreme anxiety. While he had strong psychopathic tendencies, which normally would preclude him from participating in the group, his urges were held in check by his profound fear. He’d told us he liked torturing and killing animals when he was a human child, but after every incident, he hid in his closet for hours, terrified, waiting for the ghost of the dead to take its revenge.
“I forgive him, Dr. Knight,” Lucille said, crossing herself. “He can’t help it.”
Something must have escalated her anxiety in order to explain the clothing choice.
Partners in every way, the last two members appeared together, as they often did.
“Hi, Doctor Knight,” they said, in unison.
“Hello, Walter, Dennis. Nice to see you. Go ahead and sit and we’ll get started.”
“Hey! Bummer and Downer are here. Let the whining begin!” Chain teased.
“Chain? We had this discussion. Walter and Dennis prefer to go by their real names.”
“Yeah.” He pouted. “But you’re the only one who calls them that. You shouldn’t just yell at me. Everybody knows how they are.”
Well then, should I call you Psycho?
But Chain was right. They’d earned their vampire nicknames due to their negative outlooks, and had elevated pessimism to an art form. No matter how many silver linings were offered, they could find the dark cloud.
Gathering my notebook, pen and water bottle, I joined them.
“Let’s go around the circle and check in. How did your week go? Any success to report? Lucille, would you like to begin?”
She broke into tears. “Oh, Dr. Knight. I tried what you suggested. I stood in front of the mirror and tried to appreciate my fangs, to think good thoughts about them. But the longer I looked at them, the sharper they seemed to get, until I was so scared I pulled them out of my mouth again. Like before. I tried to collect the blood from the holes in my gums, so I could drink it and not have to go feed, but it clotted too fast. And drinking my own blood doesn’t work, anyway.” She covered her face with her hands and sobbed for a few seconds before plucking a tissue from the box and wiping her nose. “Then, when the fangs grew back in, I tried to drink from one of my regular humans, but I was so clumsy pushing my teeth into his neck that I ripped him up. He screamed and I screamed. It was horrible. He finally agreed to cut his wrist and drip the blood into a cup for me. I’m such a failure.”
“You got that right,” Chain said.
I gave him a look and he shifted his gaze to the carpet.
There definitely wasn’t a Love Your Fangs class in graduate school.
You can find out more about the series and Lynda Hilburn at
Print and Ebooks Editions Available to Purchase from
Kismet Knight, Vampire Psychologist books/stories order:
Devereux: The Night Before Kismet [short story]
The Vampire Shrink
Until Death Do Us Part [free short story]
Sex in a Coffin [short story]