Saturday, October 20, 2012

Day Seven: Conquering Nightmares by Tara Fox Hall

 Congratulations to the winners of the Dreamcatchers!

Naomi Bellini
Partly Dave
Jessica Sawa  -
Su Halfwerk

You will be contacted by Jenny or Tara.

Thank you to all readers and visitors!

Join me today as we look into each author's contribution to their release of 
Bedtime Shadows

To keep up with what's going on in the tour, 
please check out this tour's Facebook page!

Take it away Tara!

Conquering Nightmares

Everyone reading this has had a nightmare at some point, and woken frantically in the blackness, fumbling for the light switch and hoping that brightness will flood the room to reveal that there is nothing amiss. Our subconscious knows what we fear, however illogical, and stress, momentous events, or other triggers conspire on a regular basis to take us places in our dreams that we don’t want to go. There is no way to avoid nightmares that is a guaranteed. And there is always the horrible possibility that going back to sleep will make you reenter the nightmare right where you left it! So I advise instead to conquer them another way: use them as a stimulus to creation.
            I have nightmares on a regular basis, even when everything in my life is going very well. To keep my sanity, I began keeping several pads of paper near my bed and a pen. When I awake from a nightmare, rattled and unwilling to close my eyes, I reach for not only the light switch, but also these tools to help banish my demons. Quickly, I jot down everything that I can remember about the dream: how it began, the emotions I felt, the scenery, any characters and what they did, and any actions. This is seldom pages and pages, though once or twice a year, a complete story comes rolling out, such as All That Remains, or the beginning of Take The Chance, two stories from the anthology Bedtime Shadows. I’ve found through trial and error that the most essential part of the nightmare to capture is whatever scared me. Writing down words that will bring back that same feeling of fear later along with whatever visual horrors I can recall does the trick. Then I can go back to sleep safely, sure that the nightmare will not come back when I close my eyes again.
            To be sure, this method will lead eventually to many scraps of paper in a haphazard pile, or for those more neat, a full notebook of nightmares. Those that are interested in psychology could easily analyze recurrent themes, looking for a deeper meaning to their nightmares, and possibly confronting whatever fear spurred them. I instead gather up the scraps, and enter them into my computer as a list of possible ideas for future horror stories.
            To be honest, it’s not often that a nightmare used on its own without any additions can create a good story, as I have already said. But it can be an excellent basis. The next step is to elaborate with suppositions. Say the bit of nightmare you have to work with is a setting of a warehouse. Someone was chasing you, and you could hear his or her footsteps shadowing yours, stopping when you stopped, but closer every time. There was a feeling of dread. What happened to bring you to the warehouse? What beast might be shadowing you; a monster, a serial killer, your ex? Do you have weapons, or are there any near? Is anyone with you or nearby, and if not, why not? What do you hear? What is in the warehouse: boxes, cantaloupes, cars, chemicals? And most importantly, are you going to succumb to the thing chasing you, or are you going to fight back and triumph, because it is you who are the killer, and this was all a trap to capture your unwilling prey?
            Now that you have fleshed out the story, edit it and revise it. When it is done, read it over, and see if the bit that was initially part of your nightmare still holds any fear. If your words can still imbue you with a twinge or more of terror, that is good! You’ve managed to capture your fear to share with others. Now read on to the end of your story. Are you still scared? Likely not, at least for your own safety. You have transformed your nightmare into fiction, with an ending and details to distance you from it, and in doing so, have conquered it.
Excerpt from All That Remains:

I walked back downstairs, wondering if I should check outside, when I heard a noise. I turned, and out of the corned of my eye, reflected in a broken hall mirror, I swore I got a glimpse of a young man in a red plaid shirt and jeans, his arms flailing wildly as he shouted soundlessly. But when I whipped around, there was no one there. Darting a look back at the mirror, I expected to see nothing. Instead, I saw the man there, looking back at me from the mirror, grinning at me, his eyes tinted yellow.
            I let out a shriek and ran for the front door. I got as far as the stairs, and then stopped with a whimper.
            There was a young boy on the stairs in front of me.
            “Father, I’m so glad to see you,” he said gratefully, his innocent face breaking into a smile. “I looked for you, and couldn’t find you!”
            “I’m not your father,” I whispered.
            The boy came closer, his light blue eyes shining. “I’m so glad you’re here. It seemed like such a long time I’ve been looking for you.”
            “Where is my friend?” I grated out, making myself get closer. “What are you?”
            The boy tilted his head and studied me, but didn’t reply.
            I took another step closer. “Get out of my way.”
            “Stay,” the boy said, his voice no longer grateful.
            I lost it. I grabbed hold of him, expecting him to fade into smoke or disappear, but instead it was like reaching into ice water. I gasped in shock as my hands clasped onto bony arms, and the boy let loose a snarl, his eyes narrowing to red pinpricks as he bared his teeth and tried to sink them into my hand.

 Some recent book by Tara 

Tara Fox Hall’s writing credits include nonfiction, horror, suspense, action-adventure, erotica, and contemporary and historical paranormal romance. She is the author of the paranormal action-adventure Lash series and the vampire romantic suspense Promise Me series. Tara divides her free time unequally between writing novels and short stories, chainsawing firewood, caring for stray animals, sewing cat and dog beds for donation to animal shelters, and target practice.

Tara's Blog:

Tara's Facebook Page:


For info on my recently published books Lash and Promise Me, click here: and here

For my latest interview, click here:
Book Title: Broken Promise (Promise Me Series #2) – Vampire romance
Date Released: September 2012

Amazon Link:

Blurb: Shocked at Danial’s betrayal, Sarelle returns to her old home to consider her options. Yet even as Sar plans a reconciliation with Danial, Terian arrives, confessing his desire. When Theo witnesses Terian and Sar kiss, he angrily confronts Sar, leading to startling consequences. Will Sar’s heart choose Danial, Terian,…or Theo?


Book Title: The Chalet – Gothic Romance novella
Date Released: September 2012

Amazon Link:

Blurb:  When Madeline honors her mother's dying wish and returns to The Chalet, she discovers the true secret of the old mansion; a seductive spirit whose undying love has waited decades to claim her for its own


Jenny Twist said...

Fantastic. I love your nightmares!
Can Partly Dave and Naomi Bellini leave their emails for us? They have won a prize and we can't send it to them!

Tara Fox Hall said...

Thank you, Jenny :)

heather said...

Ohhh, creepy! I love it :)

Jessica Sawa said...

LOVE IT! man I hate nightmares but what I hate the most is the nightmare of sleep paralysis. man oh man that is a story in itself! lol... my lilman has nightmares and it is so sad he talks and cries in his sleep, it helps him to talk about them though what an idea if they continue to have him write them down when he is older... THANKS! myself I have no trouble getting back to sleep after a nightmare I just read some and pass back out hahah...

hotcha12 said...


Tori L. Ridgewood said...

Terrific post, Tar! You reminded me to write down a bad dream I had the other night… Oh yes, and there's another one popping up in my head. The to-be-written pile continues to grow!