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Roxanne D. Howard: The Power of Dreams in Writing
Monday, September 4th, 2017

Hello, I’m Roxanne D. Howard, and I write erotic contemporary and paranormal romance novels. Today I’d like to discuss the power of dreams in our writing.

I know several authors who keep a dream journal in their nightstand, and jot down the dreams they remember upon waking. Paul McCartney once said in an interview that he dreamt the song, Yesterday. He composed the melody in a dream, and upon waking, he played it on the piano. He had to shop it around to friends and family because he believed it was a song from his past or childhood, but as it turned out, it was completely inspirational.

Dreams have the power to inspire us and lay the cornerstones of what can be come worlds in which our characters live. Since humankind has existed, we’ve studied dreams and tried to make sense of them. Sigmund Freud believed that nothing we do occurs by chance, and that every action and thought is motivated by our unconscious. He believed that our urges and desires that don’t fit into societal norms are repressed into our dreams, and that’s how they are released.

So how do we write our dreams? There are times when we wake up that we hardly remember what we dreamt about, which is why it’s important to keep a writing journal, or a memo app on our phones handy. The littlest line or recollected visual description can make the biggest difference.

Let’s talk about writing space. In his memoir On Writing, Stephen King likened writing to a wakeful, dreamlike state. “Your writing room should be private, a place where you go to dream… the space can be humble, and it really needs only one thing: A door you are willing to shut.” As a mom to two rambunctious girls, I can testify that this is nigh to impossible at times when you’re running the kids from school to ballet class, unless you have a lot of time on your hands. What I’ve learned to do is create my own four walls and pseudo room when I open my laptop.

While ideally you can be more creative in a quiet, isolated environment, it is possible to write while the kids are going to town on the playground at McDonald’s or having fun in the bouncy houses at the fun center. If you can create those mental four walls when you have a moment to spare, you can transpose your dreams into a story.

While I’d love to be able to say I had an erotic dream like the ones Lark has in At the Heart of the Stone which inspired the story, Lark just walked as a fully formed character into my mind with a story to tell, and I went from there. However, a lot of lines I get for my novels do come from my dreams, and I’ve learned not to ignore them as they come along.

What interesting dreams have you had which have inspired you?

At the Heart of the Stone

Dreams are the perfect shelter for our fantasies, safe havens to step inside without changing our daily lives. For Lark Braithwaite, all that is about to change. During the last six months, Lark has dreamt of a mysterious Irish lover who knows what she wants and gives her exactly what she needs. In her waking life in busy London, things aren’t as ideal, as her long-term relationship with Charles, her controlling fiancé, has hit a dry spell.

When Lark is called home to Oregon for her father’s funeral right in the middle of a high-stakes corporate merger, she heads back to face the demons from her past. What she doesn’t expect is to meet her dream lover in the flesh. Niall O’Hagan steps straight out of her fantasies and right into her life, and the powerful connection they share rocks her foundation. Although she’s dealing with the bitterness of being betrayed by Charles and his jealousy, Niall soon stirs Lark’s awareness of the superficiality of her existence and reawakens not only her sexuality, but her soul.

At the Heart of the Stone Buy Links:

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Google PlayiTunes | Kobo | Loose Id

Excerpt:

How did he get here? He was only her dream lover.

Or was he?

Confused beyond all comprehension, Lark didn’t have any time to contemplate what was really going on. His lips delivered a breath-stealing, soul-shattering kiss, and then they were all over each other. This, ah, this she knew. Lark hooked her ankle over his and put a hand on his shoulder, trying to rid him of his jacket and draw him closer. She clenched her hand in his hair as he devoured her mouth. He tasted the same as her dream lover, and she put her tongue in his mouth to savor more of that tangy sweetness.

They were both making noises they never had in her dreams, little breathy gasps and blasts of air as their mouths met and separated as they sought new angles and depths to their passion.

He made a disgruntled sound as he tried to get more comfortable in the cradle of her hips over the hindrance of clothes, and she realized she really wasn’t dreaming anymore. He nibbled on her lower lip as she opened her mouth to tell him to stop, but then she was carried away in the undercurrent of his large, warm hands, which were caressing the skin of her stomach beneath her hoodie and T-shirt. She continued to accept his kisses but pawed down her still zipped-up sweat jacket. Okay, so she was still clothed. He was rock hard against her, and he ground his hips into her, a disbelieving grunt escaping his lips. Lark rolled her eyes back, shivering at the jolt that went through her.

“Wh— Mmm. Whoa. Stop!” She finally managed to say against his mouth. She furrowed her eyebrows and scrutinized him as he breathed in and out, bracing himself on the weight of his hands above her, his bright green eyes bearing into hers. His face was the face of her dreams—the sensual, bowed lips and cleft chin, the built body, and the thick hair. His hair… She blinked. It was cut at the nape and styled for a day at work. She glanced down at what he was wearing.

“Um, why are you wearing a suit and tie this time?” she asked, squinting against the sunlight. Please, God, let this be a dream. He moved his head, putting her in shade.

This time?” He lifted an eyebrow, perplexed. “You’ll have to forgive me, lass, but I’ve no idea what the devil you’re talking about.” He maneuvered himself off her and sat upright at the end of the swing.

She tucked her feet against her and sat up, unable to do anything more than blink at him in utter disbelief.

“I was coming up to knock on the door when I saw you lying here, and given how you were tossing and the noises you were making, it looked like maybe you were having some sort of a seizure.”

He seemed contrite, and he turned his head as he licked his lips, full and abused from her kisses. Something close to mortification bloomed inside her.

“Erm, you…begged me to kiss you, and then you yanked me down. One thing led to another and, well, that was pretty much the way of it. I am only human, though I know that’s no excuse.” He swallowed and stared at her, his Adam’s apple moving in his throat. “I apologize. I shouldn’t have gone down when you pulled me, but it was strange—like you knew me or something.”

Lark leaned forward and rubbed her eyes. This couldn’t be real. She was hallucinating. She had to be. When she opened her eyes she’d see a man in his fifties with a receding hairline, glasses, and a beer gut. She reopened her eyes, and there he was: The full package. In the flesh. There was an air of intelligence in the way his eyes scrutinized her. She sat up and planted her feet on the porch, then put a hand to her head. The vertigo from earlier returned. “No, I’m sorry. I was dreaming…”

“Excuse me for saying so, but it must’ve been one hell of a dream.”

Lark nodded and tried not to black out as a wave of dizziness came over her.

“You look like you’re dehydrated. Hold on.”

The lilt of his familiar Irish accent soothed her like warm milk. He stood and walked over to a black laptop case propped near the front door that had several thick manila folders sticking out of its open center, one of which she could see said BRAITHWAITE in large, capital letters on an index label. He crouched down and unzipped the front pocket, extracting an unopened plastic water bottle.

“Here,” he said, unscrewing it and holding it out to her.

“Thanks.” She accepted the bottle and took a long sip of the cool water. It almost instantly revived her. She wiped a little water off the corner of her mouth with the top of her knuckle as he watched her. She offered it back to him, but he shook his head and reclaimed his seat next to her.

“Keep it. Drink.”

“Thank you.” She closed her eyes and took several large gulps, the cool liquid a balm to her throat.

“My name’s Niall O’Hagan.”

His voice was deep and pleasant. It sounded different, lighter than the sultry bedroom voice she was used to from her dreams.

“I’m the Braithwaites’ attorney.”

Lark paused in midsip and lowered the bottle in her hands. “You—no.” She laughed, glancing at him.

His mouth lifted at the corners, as if it were dawning on him he was the butt of a joke he wasn’t aware of. “I…what?”

Oh, the irony of dreaming about her father’s lawyer this whole time. Oh my God. She started giggling. This was it; she was officially losing it. She got up and walked over to the top step of the porch, put a hand over her face, and plunked herself down. “I am so messed up.”

A sudden, unwanted flash of Gemma saying “darlin’” to Charles yesterday surfaced, and tears stung her eyes. She went silent and willed them not to fall. It was no use.

After a moment, Niall sat down on the step beside her. “I’d offer you a drink, but I quit ten years ago.”

Lark laughed, despite the tears. “An Irish attorney who doesn’t like Guinness is like an Englishman who doesn’t like fish and chips or something.”

“I know; shameful,” he said with mock contrition. “Don’t hold it against me. I’m doing the world a favor. Trust me. I was a horrible drunk. Seriously, though, are you okay, miss?”

Lark scoffed and gesticulated with her hands to the sky. “It’s Lark. And what a loaded question of the day.” She couldn’t look at him, not after what happened. She clenched the edge of the step on either side of her and stared out at the trees.

“Well, considering we’ve already gone to second base, we might as well be open with each other. Forgive me if I’m candid, but it seems you were having an alleged, eh, intense dream, and you woke up and believed I was him. Is that right?”

Horror dawned on her at what she’d done, and her jaw dropped. “No!” Yes. She glanced at him, and his knowing expression said he knew that was exactly what happened.

“I see,” he said, his tone careful but persistent. “Then why did you kiss me like that?”

“I-I don’t have to answer that.” She lifted her chin with defiance.

He scooted closer to her. “No, you don’t. But I wish you would.”

She scratched her head in frustration and jumped up, moving toward the door.

“I’m sorry to embarrass you,” he said, and she paused with her hand halfway to the doorbell. “I’m decent. I would never— I never meant to take advantage of you at all, please know that. When you kissed me like that, so familiar, I…”

It occurred to her Niall was being a lot more of a gentleman about the whole thing than most men would be, given how horrid the situation was. And she, meanwhile, was being a total bitch. And the poor guy had no clue as to why.

He met her in two quick strides, and his proximity alarmed her. They’d never both been standing in any of her dreams. He was at least a few inches over six feet, well built with wide shoulders and a lithe, muscular frame to complement the height.

He assessed her as well, and his eyes widened with realization. “Wait. Lark? Rick’s daughter? But you’re so little,” he said, surprised. “From the pictures, I assumed you’d be, erm—”

“Fatter?” she asked, glad she was at least back on sure ground. She could always toss jokes around about her heavy days. “It’s okay. You can go ahead and say it. I’ve lost a lot of weight.”

Niall put a hand to the back of his neck. His eyebrows rose. “I think ‘a lot’ is an understatement. Good on you! My mam struggled with her weight too; I know from growing up with her how hard it is to lose it. Well, you look amazing. Wow.”

He rolled his eyes at himself and glanced away. The bizarreness of seeing him act misplaced and common, and not at all like a sex panther, was messing with her.

“I’m sorry.” He laughed. “I sound like an idiot. Listen, I hope you don’t think I’m some leering wanker. This is…awkward.”

“You can say that again,” she murmured with a small smile, wondering what he would say if she told him she’d been having erotic dreams of him every night for the last six months. It was bad enough she’d just made out with the guy.

She held out her hand but didn’t make eye contact. “So listen, how about we forget it ever happened, okay? I’m Lark Braithwaite. I flew in a couple of days ago from London.”

He took her hand and closed his long fingers over hers. “Niall O’Hagan. Pleasure.” He stepped a little closer. “And I’m all for a clean slate, but forgetting’s not on my agenda, lass. I’m taking that one to the grave. Hands down the best snog I’ve ever had in my life. Client’s daughter or no, you can’t take it back.”

About the Author

Roxanne D. Howard is a U.S. Army veteran who has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and English. She loves to read poetry, classical literature, and Stephen King. Also, she is an avid Star Wars fan, musical theater nut, and marine biology geek. Roxanne resides in the western U.S., and when she’s not writing, she enjoys spending time with her husband and children. Roxanne loves to hear from her readers, and encourages you to contact her via her website and social media.

Books by This Author:

With Boroughs Publishing Group:
Sonnet Coupled

With Loose Id Publishing, LLC.:
At the Heart of the Stone
Chicks Dig the Accent
The Costa Mesa Series
Costa Mesa 1: Batten Down the Hatches
Costa Mesa 2: Toe the Line
Costa Mesa 3: Overboard

Social Media Links:

Website: www.roxannedhoward.com
Newsletter: http://roxannedhoward.com/subscribe/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/RoxanneDHoward
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RoxanneDHowardAuthor/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/roxanned.howard/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15019190.Roxanne_D_Howard

A Question…
Tuesday, July 28th, 2015

shatner and nimoy

Just woke up and it’s hard to be creative when all I want to do is crawl back under the covers. I was having this wonderful dream. A much younger William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy were at a convention, and I was one of the lucky fans selected to have dinner with them. I brought my camera with me to get photographic proof James T. Kirk was at my table, but every time I clicked a shot the picture was overexposed. What a nightmare! :)

So, that got me thinking. Frustrated fantasies have to be pretty common in Dream World. So do dreams about famous celebrities.

Can you remember one of yours? 

NyQuil Dreams
Saturday, August 16th, 2014

I have a head cold again. Never fails. If I travel, I get sick. I went to bed last night after taking NyQuil, woke up at nine, ate breakfast, and then back to bed I went. My body aches from resting so much, but the dreams have been amazing. Mostly half-naked, unconsummated scenes. Is it the NyQuil? If so, I need another bottle.

So, when I dream, I’m my pretty young self. Or I’m someone completely different. Sometimes, I’m even a man. And I dream in color. Usually lots of turquoise, sunny yellow,  tangerine orange and spring green. If I sweep into a house, the room has niches in the walls with statuary. The beds look like something out of Hansel and Gretel—big four-posters with thick duvets. A lot of my dreams are set beside the sea or on a boat. Of course, the boat never rocks, so I’m never queasy.

I have a dream dictionary I consult whenever I have a particularly vivid dream, but it falls short quite often. How would you interpret alabaster-skinned aliens without sexual organs falling naked from the sky? Or basement swimming pools where the steps descend into a lighted grotto?

I suppose I’ll have to stir from this chair and go get a shower. Maybe the last of the NyQuil haze will clear. If I press “publish” now, will I regret it later? :) What sort of dreams do you have?

Craziness and a winner!
Monday, August 15th, 2011

Last night, I dreamt John Wayne was my husband and that he was the captain of the U.S.S. Minnow. I’ll tell you a tail of sailing ship… Oh, and he was “grounded” from work for drinking and working in the control tower. Yeah, dreams don’t have to make sense, do they?

Only it kind of does given my odyssey yesterday. I almost got bumped from my flight, Philly to Atlanta, because Delta overbooked my one PM flight by five people. Hey, any other industry and that would be considered fraud! I did get on that flight and thought my troubles were over. Noooooo!

Our plane arrived late in Atlanta. Delta’s booking people told me they couldn’t confirm me for another flight until three the next day. I sat on standby for two more flights to Little Rock, then went begging an attendant to get me the hell out of the airport. “Fly me to Dallas, I’ll take a damn rental car home!” She took pity on me. At 7:20, I boarded a flight to Memphis. When I told the Red-Headed Hellion on the phone, she said, “Rental car? Pffft!” She drove the three and a half hours to pick me up. We got home about one AM.

Horror story over? Nah! My luggage didn’t come to Memphis. It flew to Little Rock and the airport closes at ten PM. So someone has to make another trip today to pick it up!

Anyway, I do have some fun stuff I brought back from the conference, pictures to share… Just not today. I do, however, have a winner!

The winner of the Fugly Ring Contest is…Tammy Ramey! 8) Tammy, congratulations! Be sure to email me with your snail mail address and I’ll get your huge sparkly into the mail for you!

Be back tomorrow for the start of a brand new contest!

Dreams
Thursday, March 17th, 2011

Dreams are extremely important.
You can’t do it unless you imagine it.

~ George Lucas

Speaking of dreams, I had a doozy last night. And it feels familiar, like I’ve had it before.

I lived in a house in the very exclusive Dominion area in San Antonio, Texas. The house was huge with a pool just outside the door. I sat at a glass table eating breakfast and reading ads from the newspaper. Only these ads were “live” ads that talked and described the items on sale at a department store. I wondered aloud when they’d make ads interactive so I could ask useful questions like, “Would that TV fit in my entertainment system cabinet?” The Progressive woman looked up from her ad and said, “Well, have you measured the space?”

I have to put that in a book.

Yesterday, I got my butt in gear. I wrote nearly a chapter. All of it sex. And I really, really liked the sex I wrote. My hero’s a big dude with very commanding ways. *sigh* I’d like to finish the story today or tomorrow, but I can’t keep them in bed forever, so today’s likely to drag as I figure out what they’ll say to each other when they aren’t acting like bunnies.

Sunday Report Card–and Happy 4th!
Sunday, July 4th, 2010

First, I have to tell you about this dream I had last night. I dreamed I was a superhero. I still haven’t figured out what my superpower was, but I got a call on the bat phone to hightail it to a sleepy little Texas border town to take out The Black Widow. My sidekick went with me. He was tall, balding and had a pot belly. Yeah, we made quite a team, but for some reason that was part of our power. Everyone underestimated us.

The Black Widow and I were old archrivals and we recognized each other immediately when our glances met across a smoky cantina. (There was a little homoerotic tinge to this whole dream.) She looked like Natalie Whatshername from Sugarland. A tall, blonde, natural beauty, with whom I’m sure I would have wanted to be friends if she didn’t have a nasty habit of romancing a victim in a bar then sucking off his head. Not a sexual euphemism.

Anyway, we got into a huge battle where we threw tables and chairs at each other from across the room, then took the battle out into the street and demolished half the buildings there. Neither of us won an advantage, and when we got tired of beating on each other, we headed back to the cantina for a beer, my trusty sidekick complaining about his aching back all the while. When she rose to leave, she handed me her lighter and said, “Keep it. I’m quittin’ anyway.”

I smiled and thanked her, but as soon as she was out the door, I gingerly held up the lighter, walked out the back of the cantina, tossed it into the garbage bin and ducked to avoid the explosion. End of dream.

My report is very anticlimactic. And it looks very different from what I had planned last week, but unexpected things crept up all week. Not that I can talk about all of it just yet.

* I wrote class material for FFnP’s Logline, Premise, Query and Synopsis class which starts tomorrow.
* I spoke with my Berkley editor about edits she wants on the first Viking book, then received the file and started work on that.
* I received word that Four Sworn was accepted and is tentatively scheduled for release by Samhain in September.
* I wrote a synopsis for a Merry Kinkmas short story for Ellora’s Cave and shipped it to my editor, after conducting some rather thorough fetish research.
* I received some exciting news about a project for an epublisher, but can’t mention it yet.
* And I quick-plotted a short story for Cleis.

This week:
* I will plow through edits of Viking-1.
* I will complete planning for Viking-2 and start writing the sucker!
* I will begin work on my Cleis short story.
* And lastly, I hope to begin work on my next western for Samhain.

Have a Happy 4th! I’ll think about you while I’m here on the lake!

Sunday Report Card
Sunday, April 18th, 2010

Strangest dream last night. I moved into a very large house with many rooms, that were more like individual apartments because they had their own baths and kitchenettes. And the furnishings were very elaborate junkware. You know, like collections of foot-tall, ceramic teapots made in the likenesses of the Taj Mahal and Neuschwanstein castle. The rooms exploded with color—turqouise walls, enameled dressers and pianos. The floors looked like kiln-fired ceramic tile and were pieced together designs of rice patty or wheat fields. Anyway, I arrived with my daughter and mother, and we fought over which rooms we should take. Since I was doing the buying I argued that I should have first choice, and I wanted the room with the largest desk covered in Japanese black lacquer with insets of mother-of-pearl. I lost the argument, but didn’t mind so much, all the rooms were great. But then the convention-goers arrived. Seems Sasha White booked my house for a reader’s convention, so my house was overrun with readers scrambling to claim beds and breaking pottery left and right. That’s when I woke up.

Well, the big accomplishment was finishing Beloved Captor (that name’s likely to change). I wrapped up the revisions, which seemed to take forever, and sent it to my editor. Send a little prayer up that she likes it. After that, nada, zippo, zero! But I don’t care. I couldn’t sit because I’d been doing so much of that in the revisions. I attended my Arkansas RWA chapter meeting yesterday, and now I finally feel recharged enough to plunge back in.

So, if anyone out there wants to sprint with me this week—not the kind where you need running shoes, the kind where you write like a madwoman for 45-minute sprints—I’m so there.

Thanks to everyone who provided me input regarding what you want to see in the next installment of Bad Moon Rising. I will take a look at them all and come back with a poll for you to cast your final version vote.

And the winner of the gift certificate, by random number generator is…tamibates! Tami—email me with the email addy you want the certificate sent to!



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