If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.

August Interview Schedule
8/7 Rhys Bowen Love and Death Among the Cheetahs
8/14 Heather Gilbert Belinda Blake and the Snake in the Grass
8/21 Lynn Chandler Willis Tell Me No Secrets
8/28 Cynthia Kuhn The Subject of Malice
8/31 Bernard Schaffer An Unsettled Grave

Saturday Guest Bloggers: 8/3 M. S. Spencer, 8/10 Zaida Alfaro

WWK Satuday Bloggers: 8/24 Kait Carson


Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Shari Randall will be writing again for St. Martin's, perhaps under a pseudonym. We look forward to reading Shari's Ice Cream Shop Mystery series debuting next year. Congratulations, Shari!

Susan Van Kirk's A Death At Tippett Pond was released on June 15th. Read E. B. Davis's interview with Susan.

KM Rockwood's "Frozen Daiquiris" appears in The Best Laid Plans: 21 Stories of Mystery & Suspense, edited by Judy Penz Sheluk. The anthology will be released on June 18th.

Congratulations to Margaret S. Hamilton for being a finalist in the Daphne Du Maurier contest. Margaret competes in the Unpublished/Mainstream mystery/suspense category.

Congratulations to Shari Randall for WINNING the Agatha Award for Best First Novel. Her book, Curses, Boiled Again was published by St. Martin's last year. Read the interview about the book here. Yay, Shari!

Fishy Business anthology authors include KM Rockwood, Debra Goldstein, and James M. Jackson. This volume was edited by Linda Rodriguez.

Please read Margaret S. Hamilton and Debra Goldstein's short stories (don't ask about their modus operandi) in a new anthology, Cooked To Death Vol. IV: Cold Cut Files

Warren Bull's Abraham Lincoln: Seldom Told Stories was released. It is available at: GoRead: https://www.goread.com/book/abraham-lincoln-seldom-told-stories or at Amazon: https://tinyurl.com/ydaklx8p

Grace Topping's mystery, Staging is Murder was released April 30.

James M. Jackson extends the Seamus McCree series with the May 25th publication of #6, False Bottom.


Monday, April 20, 2015

Pharmaceutical Dreaming

As some of you know, I’m recovering from a broken right wrist. I just got out of the cast and into a brace plus intensive physical therapy, which has caused a great deal of pain, and in order to sleep at night, I’m taking heavy-duty pain medicine as I was during the early weeks after the initial breaking of two bones.

This means weird dreams. That phrase seems redundant. Dreams are, by nature, non-rational, of course. But these drugged dreams are something else. Much more vivid and bizarre. The dead walk and talk again in my dreams right now. My children, the youngest of whom is about to turn thirty, are babes in arms and toddlers again in these dreams, even as I’m still a child myself, a sibling to my own kids. Every morning I wake in wonder at the strange, technicolor movies I’ve just experienced. 

Each morning I sit with my cup of tea and record another outlandish dream—a house suddenly filled with feral cats and I can’t figure out how they’re getting in or how to keep them out, a strange conference at an unknown university where I’m responsible for one of the programs when hundreds of ninjas attack, a ballroom dancing scene where I’m Ginger Rogers in chiffon and stilettos and only my unknown partner’s hand keeps me from floating off to join all the other people living on big multicolored clouds. 

I’m a writer, so you’d think some of these dreams would spark stories or books. I have had the germs of stories and books come to me in my dreams before, but not in medicated dreams like these. I know from sad experience that none of these will offer me anything more than a moment’s entertainment and wonder. I suppose that, if I wrote literary short fiction in the surreal school of writing, I might find them useful, but for someone who writes mystery novels and thrillers that must make sense to the average reader, these dreams are a waste of my unconscious’s creative skills.

What they do for me as a writer, however, is remind me that I have at my disposal an incredibly creative partner in that very unconscious. I simply have to find ways to guide its creativity and to ground it in the details of reality. That inventive part of my mind works constantly coming up with all kinds of stories, good, bad, bizarre, and humdrum. It’s up to me to harness and channel all that imaginative energy. Still, it would be nice if it could just toss up a nice, usable, Academy-Award-worthy story now and then.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, it’s time for my nightly excursion into the world of flying cars, talking dogs, and Nazi storm troopers chasing me at a writers conference, plus other exciting adventures.


James Montgomery Jackson said...


Hope your road to recovery speeds up. Maybe your muse is tired of mysteries and thrillers and wants to walk on the wild side. I suggest using a pseudonym if you go all Tom Robbins on us.

~ Jim

E. B. Davis said...

I hope your wrist heals quickly, Linda. I don't know how you do it all. Having pharmaceutical dreams must be the roach in your muffin. Dreaming up plots or characters from my dreams has never happened to me. Plots are linear, but they move in a circle and converge on the last word. Dreams warn, but don't tell a story. I usually don't remember them so I can't harness them as part of the creative process, which is fine. Plotting to me is a deliberate process.

Shari Randall said...

Sounds like the dreams of a woman who is keeping a million projects going and doing it with style - I like the way your subconscious used the Ginger Rogers analogy ("She did everything Fred did, only backwards and in high heels.")
So much for dream analysis…I'll just wish you a peaceful night's sleep!

Warren Bull said...

From my cancer medications I've had wild dreams as well as visual hallucinations and delusional thinking while awake. I thought it was interesting at first, but It became awful.

Ramona said...

Crazy dreaming through chemistry?

I've never dreamed a useful one for writing, but I have had some that are whoppers as entertaining stories. I don't even have drugs as an excuse!

Gloria Alden said...

Linda, I found your blog fascinating. I often have the strangest dreams where I am someone I don't know, and I don't know any of the people in that dream, either. I've been a teenage boy, an old man, a middle-age woman - I'm much older - with a teen-age son and his friend, who were up to something, but I wasn't sure what. I also dream in color. I did write a poem from one of those dreams once, but mostly if I don't go over the dream as soon as I wake up, I forget the details and it fades away.

Linda Rodriguez said...

Jim, if I write a psychedelic novel, I'll definitely use a pseudonym.

Elaine, I have had dreams present me with the nugget of a short story or book on rare occasions, but never these medicine-induced wild dreams.

Linda Rodriguez said...

Shari, I guess you could hang out a shingle for dream analysis. ;-)

Warren, my cancer meds make my joints extra painful (which with lupus is really saying something), make me weak and full of overwhelming fatigue, make me irritable (I constantly have to bite my tongue to keep from sniping at Ben, who is the best man alive), and rob my bones of calcium severely, but I'm thankful that they haven't had any psychological effects like yours. I can imagine how dreadful that would be.

Linda Rodriguez said...

Ramona, I've occasionally had dreams helpful to writing, but not these chemical dreams.

Gloria, it sounds as if you are living a rich alternative life at night in your dreams.

Ursula Le Guin has a marvelous book about dreaming with real power called The Lathe of Heaven. I believe they made a movie out of it, but it was not as good as the book.

KM Rockwood said...

Amazing what our subconscious minds will come up with.

And I think you're right--if we will give our subconscious room and trust it, it comes up with all kinds of tidbits for writing.

If I have a particularly thorny issue in a story, I will try to think about it as I fall asleep. Since generally I'm asleep within minutes of my head hitting the pillow, other thoughts don't have a chance to sneak in. Sometimes it works. And sometimes it lets me know that the direction I thought I was going in is all wrong.

Hope your recovery brings you peace and relief.

Sarah Henning said...

Oh, Linda, I hope you get better soon AND get that Academy Award-winning story you want:)

Linda Rodriguez said...

Yes, KM, I, too, like to turn over a story problem in my head right before sleep. It's a way of assigning my unconscious to work on it. And it works.

Sarah, from your mouth to God's ears!

Kara Cerise said...

I wish you a quick recovery so you can stop the medication and the psychedelic dreams, Linda!

Linda Rodriguez said...

Kara, from your mouth to God's ear also!

Paula Gail Benson said...

Linda, thank you for writing this post today. Not only have you given me many images to contemplate, but reading the other comments has done the same. I particularly like what E.B. says about plotting.
When I take prednisone, it seems to speed up my writing, but I'm not always able to decipher the product. Once I ended a passage with a reference to a character I had never heard of before.
I wish you excellent health and the Academy award winner. I look forward to basking in your glory!

Linda Rodriguez said...

Yes, Paula, prednisone always makes me think I can do anything, and I almost can while I'm on it, but I've learned that I pay for it big time when the steroids are gone.