Today I wrote THE END on my nightmare novel Dreamsters. It’s the first of the 4 novels I’ve been working on for the past 5 years to ever reach the end. It’s hard to even describe how amazing this feels. My heart won’t sit still. 


Great new release by Tipper. 


Tipper - Dreamsters Tipper

What are Nightmares made of?

You may or may not know already that my current work-in-progress is a horror/thriller novel temporarily being called Dreamsters (that title is far too fluffy for the nature of this story so it will absolutely change). In the book, nightmares are a reoccurring thing. 

I’ve personally faced graphic, realistic nightmares since I was a very small child (ask my mom, she can attest to this) so it’s pretty easy for me to pull ideas from my own history on this matter. But I realize that some of the scariest things to me might not be scary at all to someone else. For example, some of my scariest dreams don’t always have a frightening plot, the scariest part about them is that I can’t scream for help (like my mouth is sewn shut) or I can’t open my eyes wide enough to properly see the thing creating so much panic in me. 

So, in an effort to make sure I cover all aspects of fear factor with these nightmares, I thought it would be wise to find out what others are afraid of; what nightmares they consider the most frightening and why. 

Tell me about your scariest nightmare! What keeps you up at night?


Music Friday Song #2: Underoath - “Desperate Times, Desperate Measures”

This song basically IS the nightmare. The intensity, the desperation, the pacing. Even the lyrics are words ripped straight out of my characters minds. Getting curious about the ending of Dreamsters yet? ;)


Music Friday Song #1: Bring Me The Horizon - “Hospital for Souls”

I know I’ve posted BMTH several times now, but everything I’ve been listening to these days is on the Dreamsters playlist because I’m about 5K from the end of it (OMG, right?!). In anticipation for writing the last nightmare, I’ve been listening to the next three songs the most. Make of that what you will. ;)

When Music and Writing Collide

It probably isn’t a surprise that music plays a big part in the creation of my novels since I talk about the two constantly, but I’ve never really elaborated on exactly how music helps my books come alive. 

Typically when I’m putting together a playlist for a book, I looks for songs that fit the mood of a scene or that come from a band my characters would likely listen to if they were real people. For example in Dreamsters, Harper’s favorite band is Mindless Self Indulgence, while Milo’s an all-out post-hardcore fan – there are a lot of both on the playlist as a result. 

And while it is more common for my book playlists to have an eclectic mix of musical styling’s (much like my own taste in music), there are some books that have one particular sound throughout. Take Summer Novel for instance, it is strictly mellow, easy going, indie music. 

More times than not, the songs on the playlist really have nothing to do with the actual story itself. So you might understand why it makes me deliriously happy and excited to write ALL the words when I come across songs with lyrics so perfect, it’s like my characters whispered them to the band. For Dreamsters in particular (since it’s my current WIP), lyrics like: 

I’m not scared, but this is happening.

I’m not afraid, but this is real (this is real).

It all comes at once; from every single direction.

This time I’m not (I’m not) sleeping at all.

How could this be real?

(A Fault Line, A Fault of Mine by Underoath)


How can I sleep, if I don’t have dreams, I just have nightmares?

(Staying Up by The Neighbourhood)


When I wake up, I’m afraid somebody else might take my place.

When I wake up, I’m afraid somebody else might end up being me.

(Afraid by The Neighbourhood)


I can’t help it.

I won’t let you bury yourself.

Bury yourself.

(Dancing on a Tightrope by I The Mighty)  

It doesn’t happen often, but sometimes a song fits on entirely different books playlists, like there are quite a few  of the same Underoath tracks on both Dreamsters and Crack the Sky, but they impact the story differently because of the way the character hears the tracks. 

It’s also becoming common practice for me to use movie scores or other wordless tracks to write against, especially when I’m seeking a particular feeling that can’t be interrupted with lyrics. Since Dreamsters is a horror/thriller novel, I’ve used a lot of “spooky” tracks by Kevin MacLeod like Gloom Horizon to set the tone for the nightmares, but also to create just a general dreary or creepy demeanor in the day-to-day, tracks like Very Sick Girl from the movie Side Effects’ score or The Alchemist by Black Light Burns. 

Funnily enough, there is even music that I can listen to no matter what I’m writing, but to date only one band has succeeded in this and I seriously have no idea what it is about them that makes them so universal. Wide Eyes, Sun Hands, Black Balloons, and Wooly Mammoth are all tracks by Local Natives that just make me want to write, write, write, no matter what it is. 

So writerly people, do you listen to music while you write? Does it matter what you’re listening to? Does the music bring your story alive? I’d love to hear about it! 

P.S. All track titles are clickable! :)

2013 In Review: Writing

Last year I resolved to finish a first draft of any of my novels. I even went as far to say that if I didn’t finish one, I’d throw in the towel. 

It was a foolish resolution. 

Not necessarily because it’s unachievable, because it could be, but to just give up writing altogether over not finishing a first draft in a year was just stupid of me to say. Writing will always be a part of me, no matter how long it takes me to produce a final product. And I shouldn’t put such ridiculous limitations on myself so that I feel like a failure when I don’t meet them. 

I refuse to feel like a failure. 

So, what did I achieve in 2013 writing wise, if I didn’t complete a first draft? Lots, actually. 

First, I wrote two short stories this year, just like the year before. And I sort of like this “habit” of writing two a year. It’s a good way to remind myself that I can in fact close a story and in less words than feels necessary for a novel. If by some chance you missed those short stories this year, you can find them below. 

In Pursuit of Jenna Mae 

The Christmas Ban 

Also, that last short story became a sequel to a short story I’d written back in 2010 and I’ve already got a third and final installment to this Christmas collection planned for next year. I might even try to publish them all together for real. I really might. 

Overall, I wrote 51,798 words this year. That’s more than the last two years combined. This might not seem all that impressive to all those writers who can churn out 90K manuscripts a year, but it’s big for me, that I wrote so much more than I have in the past two years combined. That’s quality progress. 

Also, about those 51,798 words, with the exception of the short stories, almost all of those words were for Dreamsters, which I had started in the beginning 2012 and sat aside for the rest of the year. This is the first year I’ve successfully overcome my seasonal writer status and worked every month of the year on the same project. I miss my other stories, I do, but Dreamsters will be the first one I actually finish. Now that I know I can stay focused on the same story, regardless of the weather, I refuse to stop working on this one until it’s finished now. 

I owe a lot of my accomplishments to a writing group I’m a part of on Facebook – Grapemo – hosted by author Jeannine Garsee. Not only are the weekly check-in’s about our writing progress a motivator, but the Teaser Tuesday and Thursday Specials have really opened me up and encouraged me as a writer. I’m grateful to be surrounded by so many like-minded folks. 

I also gave Victoria Schwab’s star technique a shot towards the end of the year (and not just for writing) and found that seeing my daily success on a calendar really helped keep me focused. I plan to practice this again in 2014 for sure. 

So my goals for 2014… well, I just hope to keep writing. I’d love to kick out another two short stories and I do have two ideas brewing, but I won’t punish myself if they don’t happen. That takes all the fun out of writing. And ideally it would be nice to finish Dreamsters in 2014 because technically I’ve already written more than half the book, but again I won’t punish myself if this doesn’t happen either. 

I will write in 2014, that is all I’ll hope for. And maybe, just maybe, I’ll report an even more successful year to you next January.