Here’s the one-page resource for everything you need to know about me and my books…especially how to buy them!
I thought y’all might be interested in a quick peek behind the scenes at how the Dream Series books came to be…
The first book in the series, DREAM STUDENT, first came to life 15 years or so ago. The genesis of the idea was a question:
Why do people in stories (TV, movies, books) become “amateur detectives?” Most sane people, if they discover evidence of a crime, especially something as awful as a murder, would go straight to the police. But people in stories almost never do.
My answer was: because the evidence was only in their heads. If you were seeing the crimes in the perpetrator’s memories – or dreams – what could you do with that information? What could you tell the police? you would need some concrete proof, which means you’d have to find it yourself. You’d be…an amateur detective.
Sara, and Brian, came to life right along with the idea, and, really, neither of them changed very much from the initial idea to the final book. Beth didn’t really change, either, except that as the book went from being written in third person to being told entirely from Sara’s first person POV, we didn’t get to see anything from her point of view in the final book.
Some details changed (especially the ending, and the way that Sara and company figure out how to find the killer), but basically the story is more or less as it was fifteen years ago.
DREAM DOCTOR came from a couple of different ideas. First was simply following up on the ending of DREAM STUDENT. We knew that Sara was going to marry Brian, and that she was going to go to medical school. Following her and seeing how she handled those two things was obvious. The second idea was to turn around the plot of the first book. In DREAM STUDENT, Sara had to track down one man who had killed several people. DREAM DOCTOR reverses that: she has to figure out who out of several suspects is trying to kill one very dislikeable individual. I will admit that I didn’t decide for sure who the would-be murderer was until partway through the book, which meant going back to make a few changes to support the ending.
DREAM CHILD again springs from the ending of the previous book. We learn in DREAM DOCTOR that Sara’s going to have a baby, and the logical progression was again obvious: what if Sara’s child shared her talent? What would it be like to have to solve a mystery seen only through dreams – but, worse, through adult dreams as witnessed by a four-year-old who has no frame of reference at all for what she’s seeing?
I didn’t work out the mechanics of the plot right away; I didn’t know exactly who was blackmailing the Congressman, or why, until the book was nearly halfway finished, but the basic idea never really changed.
That’s not true of book four, DREAM FAMILY. The original idea for the story was that Sara would encounter her nemesis – someone else outside her family who could do what she did, but who was using that gift for selfish and harmful purposes. But I never got there. I wrote the prologue, and then I got the idea that somewhere in the story, Sara would find herself spending a night in jail. I envisioned it as a minor obstacle, and something that might even be a relatively lighthearted moment. But the moment I began to write that scene (I sometimes jump ahead and write later scenes if I have a strong idea of what they’re going to be), it changed. The night in jail – I began with the moment of Sara’s arrest – became a nightmare for Sara, worse than anything she’d ever experienced. And I knew, that was the story: Sara going through an experience that totally breaks her, and how (or if) she recovers from it and puts herself back together.
So there’s how the first four books came to be. In the next installment, I’ll discuss the rest of the Dream Series…
It’s Sneak Peek Sunday – you can CLICK RIGHT HERE to get a look at upcoming work from a whole bunch of other fantastic authors. And you can read on, to get a look at what’s coming next month – book eight of the Dream Series, DREAM VACATION!
Someone’s poking me, and there’s – what is that noise? It’s grinding and groaning and it’s much too loud.
Landing gear. And the poking is Ben. And Lizzie. We must be coming into Paris right now. I – I guess I slept the whole flight. I open my eyes, very slowly, and look over from my son to my daughter. They’re both staring at me with concern.
“Mom, what did you mean, ‘Thank God it’s not Grace?’”
What? I don’t understand. I didn’t say – of course I did. While I was sleeping, or just waking up. I was dreaming, and I was – it all comes back. The girl and her brother, visiting Jim Morrison’s grave and looking to buy drugs. It was the girl, she was dreaming about buying drugs, and I saw it. Of course I was glad it wasn’t Grace – that makes perfect sense.
“I was dreaming,” I whisper to Lizzie, and she gets it immediately.
“What was it? What did you see? And who?”
Who? I never saw the girl before, or the brother, if that’s what he was. Except, obviously I have seen her somewhere or else I wouldn’t be able to go into her dream.
She’s not from our town – her shirt said Yorktown High School. I guess she could have been a patient at the hospital anyway, at some point. But then why would she be dreaming about visiting a cemetery in Paris?
I laugh; it’s the only response to how slow I am. She’s on this plane. She has to be. I must have seen her at the gate, back at Dulles airport, or walking past her row when we boarded the plane.
“I’ll tell you all about it later. But look for a girl, blonde, long straight hair, a little older than Grace.” Lizzie obediently does as I ask, and so does Ben, but none of us spot the girl. And since we’re landing, we can’t get out of our seats. We won’t be able to get up until we’re at the gate and ready to disembark.
Unfortunately, even then none of us have any luck. By the time we’re able to start making our way up the aisle and out to the jetway, the girl is long gone. She and her family must have been in the first few rows; they could be anywhere by now.
I saw her dream for a reason – I always do. But I don’t know what I’m supposed to do about it, in a foreign city with millions of people, while I’ve got my own family to worry about. I can’t do everything, can I?
And here’s a SECOND sneak peek – this is a sample from the audiobook of WAKING DREAM, which is available now!
Author Katja Rusanen is launching her latest book, “If I Love Me”, on Tuesday, and I’m happy to be hosting a stop on her pre-launch tour.
First, a little about the author…
Katja Rusanen is a Finnish writer who has been living in Barcelona since 2004. Her debut novel “And You Must Love Me” was published in 2011, and its stand-alone sequel “But He Loves Me” came out in 2013. They are part of a transformational trilogy where she projected her own experiences and feelings onto writing. The final part of the trilogy ”If I Love Me” is coming out on Tuesday, September 16th, 2014.
Katja is a Spiritual Life Coach and writes a blog about how you can turn your wounds into wisdom and be the star of your life. She also coaches writers to maintain their motivation and to make their dream of completing their own book come true! Katja is also involved in charity work, she has a soft spot in her heart for the Amani Children’s Home which has her ongoing support.
If you would like to find out more about Katja, check out her website;
Cuban cigars, Dom Pérignon and designer handbags. Renate has found a fast track to success, but the job might not be as legitimate as it sounds. When she runs across her old party friend Madeleine, the re-encounter stirs memories that she had buried deep in her mind. Renate realizes that she can’t escape the consequences of her actions forever; it’s time to start making amends.In desperation she reaches out to Madeleine who surprises her in many ways, not least by introducing her to a mystical old man who claims he can decipher her soul’s plan. Renate starts a journey into the unknown, although at first her family doesn’t agree with her drastic plans, especially when Renate’s big sister reveals a secret. ”If I Love Me” is a question that keeps confronting Renate as she starts to make some life-changing choices, and discovers the power of forgiveness and love.
Tell us about a favorite character from a book.
I adore Mama Karima. She is an amazing woman, who is like a fountain of wisdom. She has also a lot of character…
What book are you reading now?
I’m reading “Gyulu – The True Nature of Phenomena” by Tulku Lobsang.
What do you think makes a good story?
I like stories with many layers and a meaningful message.
Plotter or Pantser? Why?
I’m a mixture of those. I have a rough outline and then I sit down at the computer waiting to be surprised…
If you could apologize to someone in your past, who would it be?
Past might be past but it’s never too late to apologize as I think it’s possible to apologize to spirits too. I’m sincerely sorry for all the hurt I might have caused in the past, I hope I have learnt my lessons and can live in more harmonious way from now on. If I need to choose someone, I think I would choose myself as I caused myself a lot of suffering by holding on to the past and sabotaging my life. Luckily I found a way out of the darkness and now I light the way the path to others through my spiritual life coaching as I now know the way.
What would you consider to be the best book you have ever read?
If I need to select one, I’d say “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne. This book introduced me to the Law of Attraction, and so many good things have happened to me after reading that.
Has someone been instrumental in inspiring you as a writer?
My dear editor Francesca Hector! She has believed in me from the first meeting when my first novel seemed to be only a distant dream. She has helped me to grow as a writer through her constructive feedback and encouragement. It’s amazing to have such a diamond in my team.
I’m happy to be hosting a stop in the book launch tour for Jill Hughey’s new novel, “Eruption”
J. Hughey knows what a girl wants. Independence. One or two no-matter-what-happens friends. A smokin’ hot romance. A basic understanding of geological concepts. Huh? Okay, maybe not every girl is into geology, but J. Hughey is, and in the Yellowblown™ series she combines her passion for a timeless love story with her interest in geeky stuff to help Violet Perch get a life, despite an ongoing global catastrophe.
J. Hughey also writes historical romance as Jill Hughey.
Follow her online:
And here’s the book!
J. Hughey chose the release date of her new New Adult contemporary romance to correspond with the date of the eruption of the Yellowstone volcano in her story, an event that will turn her lead character’s world on its head as the series progresses. The first book, Eruption, gives a glimpse of Violet Perch’s college life and the unavoidable changes she endures when things get seriously messed up for the North American continent. If you didn’t know North America is a continent, you’ll learn a few more geeky facts while enjoying Violet’s story. Plus, keep reading to get a chance to win some swag!
Here’s the blurb for Eruption, which will be on sale for 99 cents for a short time:
I’m in the middle of the perfect college semester, hundreds of miles from Mom, with an awesome roomie and my freshman crush finally becoming a sophomore reality—Hotness! I’m figuring out calculus, I’ve got both hands on the handlebars and the wind of freedom in my hair. What on earth could slow my roll?
How about if the Yellowstone volcano erupts for the first time in 630,000 years, spewing a continuous load of ash (crap) all over North America? Think that’ll put a kink in my bicycle chain?
Make that kinks, plural, because here’s a scientific fact I’ll bet you didn’t know. Nothing ruins the perfect semester like a super caldera. Now that I’ve made you smarter today, maybe you can tell me how to keep my life cruising in the right direction—no to Mom, yes to roomie, double yes to Hotness!—during a global disaster?
My lame name is Violet and, in the interest of full disclosure, I’m not hanging from the side of a cinder cone on the last page of this trauma, but there’s definitely more to come. Unless, of course, humans become extinct and then there’s not. Duh.
Eruption is on sale for 99 cents. It’ll jump up to $2.99 soon so grab your copy now! http://www.amazon.com/Eruption-YellowblownTM-Book-J-Hughey-ebook/dp/B00MRHAIRO
Enjoy an excerpt from the day the eruption starts:
“You’re starting to freak me out,” I said. Boone looked like he was going to tell me someone had died, but he didn’t know anyone in my family, and surely the Dean of Students would not give him the responsibility of passing on bad news after three weeks of talking.
“Sorry,” he said. “I can’t decide if I’m freaked out or not.” He took a deep breath. “Yellowstone is erupting.”
I stared at him, not a flicker of comprehension illuminating my dim-bulb mind. Nothing. “Yellowstone? The place with the, umm, geysers?” Obviously I’d heard of Yellowstone, never been there, not sure I could place it on a map in the murky part of the U.S. between where I lived and Hollywood.
“Yeah. Yellowstone sits over a hotspot that’s been around for millions of years.”
“Instead of steaming it’s now erupting? As in lava erupting?” We’d covered igneous rocks in a very general way already so I knew hot liquefied rock below the ground was called magma and, when it erupted, became lava.
“Dr. Potter says nobody knows what it’s doing. It blew this morning. I mean explosively blew. All the local sensors went offline. Satellite pictures show a big brown cloud of dust. Like two hundred miles across.”
Boone’s voice shook a fraction. I put my hand on his forearm. He sat back so he could hold it in his.
I asked, “Do you have friends out there, or family?”
“Not close. Dr. Potter knows I’m from Nebraska. He asked me where—made me point to it on a map. He said my family might want to stockpile supplies, or better yet, leave.” He paused, prompting me to scoot to the edge of my seat. “My house is nine hundred miles away from Yellowstone, Violet.”
“Are you serious?”
“He says if it does anything close to what it’s done in the past, thirty percent of the U.S. is pretty well screwed.”
I rifled through my bag to find my tablet. “Show me,” I said. “I need to see a map or something.”
“C’mon,” he said. He took me to Dr. Potter’s office. The professor ignored us. He jabbed his finger at his cell phone to enter a text message. The screen of his laptop glowed with a cascade of open program windows, and his iPad bonged with an incoming email tone. His finger did not pause when Boone led me to an ancient roller-shade map of the US.
“Yellowstone is here. Dr. Potter drew this red circle this morning.”
That’s not coming off any time soon, I thought as I studied the thick line of scarlet Sharpie.
“The last eruption basically obliterated everything within this oval.”
“Six hundred thirty thousand years ago,” Dr. Potter muttered. His trendy rectangular glasses sat askew on his nose. He swept his hand toward his laptop’s screen in a disgusted now-look-what-you’ve done gesture. I circled around his desk to see images more current than the one offered by the cartographic fossil on the wall.
A dark mess of chocolate pudding plopped in the midst of the whipped topping clouds of a satellite loop. The mass burgeoned over the northwestern U.S., dry pudding mix edges caught and swept east by the prevailing winds.
Anyone with a grandpa who blares Weather Watcher on the TV all day knows weather moves east.
Apparently, crap shot into the air by Yellowstone moves east, too.
Finally, if you want a chance to win some Eruption swag—your choice of a necklace, bracelet or bookmark with cover and series charms, sign up for J. Hughey’s newsletter before September 27. http://www.jillhughey.com/contact
I’m one of several indie authors who are posting a sneak peek at their latest work today. You can find a whole lot of other great authors RIGHT HERE.
And I’ve got a preview for you from my upcoming book, “Dream Vacation”. Enjoy!
It’s four-thirty when I get back, and Grace still isn’t home. “She called right after you left. She said they going to stay at the mall until it closes at five and then start on home,” my mother informs me when I ask.
I start preparing dinner, and five o’clock comes and goes. By the time everything is finished and I’m dishing up places, six o’clock has come and gone, too. We should have heard something from Grace by now.
I call her cell phone, and it rings several times with no answer. That’s against the rules. One of the conditions of giving her the phone was that whenever Brian or I call, she has to pick up, no matter what she’s doing.
She’s never lied to us – not seriously, anyway. She’s never skipped school, or broken curfew or any of the other usual teenage things.
As far as I know.
The twins come in, attracted by the smell of pot roast. Steffy asks, “Where’s Grace?”
“That’s a good question,” I say, a lot more calmly than I feel. I go into the living room, and pick up the Entertainment section of the newspaper with trembling hands. It takes me just a few seconds to confirm my suspicion: there’s no Will Smith movie playing at the theater up in Beacon.
Which means Grace didn’t go there. And I also suspect that she’s not with her friend Tammie, either. Five minutes and a quick call over to the Meitners later, I know I’m right.
I look down at my hands to find them balled into fists. How could she lie to me like that? I trusted her! I’ve trusted her just the same as all my other children – just the way my parents trusted me! How could she betray that?
It was deliberate, too. She planned it all out. She knew I wouldn’t call to check up and confirm she was really going with Tammie and her brother. And she called this afternoon, to keep up the lie.
And then something more worrisome comes into my mind. What if something happened to her after that call? Unless she’s actually running away from home – and no matter how distraught she is about Will Harper, that’s just inconceivable – she must have planned to be home at a reasonable hour.
But she’s not. Why? Where is she? Is she not answering her phone because she can’t? Because she’s lost it, or it’s been stolen or she’s…?
So the first/second draft of “Dream Vacation” is done and the book is off to my fantastic beta readers now. We’re still very much on track for the October 31st launch….
And the audiobook of “Waking Dream” is in Amazon’s hands as they do quality control. It should be out sometime in the next two weeks…
Design: Robin Ludwig of Robin Ludwig Design, Inc
Release Date: October 21, 2014
Too many betrayals.
One last chance.
a cold winter day, a woman calls a number halfway across the world.
fourteen years, Laura St. Bride hears the voice she has never
forgotten, the voice she will remember with her last breath…
when the love of your life
is the last person you should love?
great family estate in Virginia.
sisters growing up in the shadow of their father’s obsessive drive to recapture
his lost muse, the woman he threw into the cold Irish sea.
scion of an old family, falling in love with the wrong sister, blind to the ice
at her core.
woman haunted by a moment of blood and violence, when she reached out and took
a man who didn’t belong to her.
man living a life of regret and sacrifice, given a second chance to claim the
woman he should have loved all along.
across a crowded London square, unknowing, unseeing, the serenity of her face
captured in the flat surface of the theatrical poster. The light noon rain ran
down in small diagonal rivers across her, crinkling the smooth plain of her
forehead and the gentle cut of her jaw. She wept, large, abandoned tears that
warred with the lovely turn of her mouth.
they called her.
had come to Leicester Square, hunting for half-price theater tickets,
gravitated to her, beckoned by her eyes, lured on by the legend of mist and
mystery that surrounded her. A few balked at the price of “An Intimate Evening
with Cat Courtney.” Others realized to their sorrow that they had conflicting
tickets, meals planned with in-laws, flights to catch. Three nights only,
announced the poster, and this, unfortunately, was the last night.
them all, oblivious to their concerns, uncaring of the rain wetting her face.
tourist who came walking into the square, his daughter by his side, did not
notice her at first. The rain had stopped for a few minutes, and other matters
engaged him: folding up a handy umbrella, glancing at his watch, reading a
guide book over his daughter’s shoulder. For one minute longer, he remained
merely a tourist on a much-needed vacation. For one minute longer, the Great
Cat never crossed his mind.
could wait, and for this man she would wait forever.
a decade before, both of them reeling from the blood of their folly, in a
deserted cottage on a desolate shore on the other side of the world. Had she
eyes to see, she would know him instantly.
ended. Eventually, Richard Ashmore lifted his head, his eyes scanning across
the theatrical posters, in search of an evening’s entertainment suitable for a
young girl. The titles made little impression – Les Miserables, The
Graduate, Noises Off – until he saw her and everything around her blurred
Julie touched her hand to his. “Do you think we can get tickets?”
Richard closed his fingers around hers, a talisman to ward memory off. “Don’t
get your hopes up, Julie. Her concerts usually sell out.”
there,” suggested his daughter, pointing across the square to the ticket kiosk.
“Maybe someone bought tickets and can’t go. Maybe someone dropped their
tickets, and someone turned them in. Maybe —”
maybe,” he teased, but already he was allowing her to drag him across the
stones towards the waiting queue.
places in line. Julie was glowing with excitement, the happiest Richard had
seen her since the morning before her grandparents had died. He was less
optimistic. Others ahead of them had requested tickets, and the possibility of
stray tickets lessened as they moved up the line. He sought to cushion her
against disappointment by letting her plan the afternoon. They were only a
couple of blocks from the National Gallery, or would she prefer to hop the tube
Julie immediately. “And tea, Dad.” She leaned in against him to look at his
guidebook. “I have my birthday money from Lucy. I want to get something to wear
to the concert.”
kitten.” He wished that they had never seen the poster. Selfish, yes, but if
meeting her eyes in a poster disturbed him, how would he feel to see her again,
even in the black anonymity of an audience? Better not to know, better to go
back to an occasional evening of listening to her songs in the dark and trying
to make some sense of what had happened.
endured enough recently.
in line now, behind a couple attempting to get tickets to the latest Andrew
Lloyd Webber. Good luck, thought Richard, who had tried for three months. They
bought him a few minutes of reprieve while they settled for a sex comedy
Courtney,” he said, and if the gods had been with him, just this once, he would
have been told in that inimitable British way, Sorry, sir, but that show has
just sold out….
tickets have been turned in,” and his fate was sealed. He and Julie looked at
the seating chart. She sparkled as she so seldom did, and as he paid for the
tickets he thought that he would bear any pain, any guilt, to see that look on
seats,” said the man behind him, another American from the sound of him. “I’ve
seen her before, and she’s worth twice the price.”
usual shyness with strangers. “I can’t wait! I’ve wanted to see her for so long
Southern accent said kindly, “You know, darlin’, you’re just the picture of
Julie. “I’m glad I am. She’s my aunt.”
Ashmore looked at the tickets and realized, with a shock, that it was June 9,
and he had been married for seventeen years.
his life, Richard Ashmore had made three mistakes with women. Not that three
was so unusual; no man reached his thirties without suffering the particular
pain that women could inflict and without inflicting it in return. He was
luckier than most men, perhaps, for he had erred early and grievously, and
caution had been driven into him like a bullet. He carried with him permanent
reminders of his follies: a marriage gone disastrously wrong, the painful
conscience that he had not always been the upright man his daughter loved, a
shoulder that ached in cold weather.
unattainable once attained, a monumental mistake made in all the first flush of
adolescent desire and pride. Too young to marry, too blindly in love to
recognize the ice behind her eyes, he had turned a deaf ear to his father’s
warning that his princess was hollow at her core.
silver-quick smile and hungry eyes, and his own need for the warmth of a
woman’s arms. The dangerous combination of a magnum of champagne on New Year’s
Eve and three years of exile from his marriage bed had erupted into a
springtime of madness. The gods had demanded their due: a marriage wrecked
beyond salvage, a family foundered, two young women cast adrift.
Oh, but even now, all these years later, he stood before her picture, and he
still did not understand. She watched him from the poster, more animated in
flat gray and white than he had ever known her. But he knew those eyes. He knew
how they adored him, how they burned in fever and desire, how they haunted odd
moments of the day and dark pockets of the night.
Laura the Cat.
had a special weakness for shuttered eyes that invited a man in with promises
implied and unkept, for wild autumn hair spread gloriously across a pillow, for
tall, elegant figures and clear, sweet voices and beguiling, destructive ways.
They all three had this and more in common, and why not? They were sisters,
Forrest, a lead writer/editor for an international information company, writes
about income tax but prefers to dream of heroes and heroines and grand romance.
With the publication of her trilogy, she checks off the top entry on her bucket
list. She lives in north Texas with her family and cat and has a five-year plan
for becoming a full-time novelist and editor of indie fiction. When she isn’t
working or writing, she amuses herself with reading, needlepointing, tramping
around historical sites and houses, and outbidding everyone who gets in her way
The first draft of “Dream Vacation” is just about finished – I’ve only got about 5,000 more words to go and it’ll be done.
At the moment, it’s the shortest of the books. It’s going to come in probably right around 80,000 words once the front matter, acknowledgements and everything else is added in (for comparison, “Dream Reunion” (book six) is currently the shortest book, at 84,000 words; “Dream Family” (book four) is the longest, at 109,000).
And the audiobook for “Waking Dream” is almost done, too. I’m just waiting on final edits from my fantastic narrator and then it’ll be approved and in the hands of Amazon’s Quality Control people…