Where Do Dreams Come From by Cecilia Dominic – Guest Post

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Today’s special guest is Cecilia Dominic.  She has a new book releasing today, Tangled Dreams.  It is part of a her new series, Dream Weavers and Truth Seekers, which is near and dear to the author’s heart. Want to know why?  Read on.

Welcome Cecilia!

Where do dreams come from?
by Cecilia Dominic

Thank you so much for hosting me today, Riley!

I’ve always been a vivid dreamer, and as a sleep psychologist, I sometimes talk with my patients about their dreams. My new urban fantasy series, Dream Weavers & Truth Seekers, allowed me to bring some of my knowledge into one of my imaginary worlds, which was so much fun!

In this series, including today’s release, some of my characters enter the Collective Unconscious, or dream world. Just as with regular dreams, it’s a strange place filled with magic, legends, and weird juxtapositions like skyscrapers on top of medieval storefronts. Sometimes there are rules, and sometimes there aren’t which keeps my characters guessing.

So where do dreams come from? This is a question that humanity has been trying to figure out for a long, long time. Due to their bizarre imagery, people have associated our nocturnal wanderings with supernatural occurrences. One example of this is the stories in ancient texts such as the Bible about divine beings communicating with people through dreams.

Then, in the early twentieth century, Carl Jung came along. He was a student of Sigmund Freud and, some would say, father of dream psychology. He is the one most associated with the term Collective Unconscious. He writes:

Naturally, if we ask someone why he had such and such a dream, what are the secret thoughts in it, he cannot tell us. He will say that he had eaten too much in the evening, that he was lying on his back; that he had seen or heard this or that the day before – in short, all the things we can read in the numerous scientific books about dreams. (C.G. Jung, Dreams, p. 6 – full reference below)

He goes on to say that, per Freud, the dreams are a reflection of psychic “constellations,” or images that have the most connections to other images because they have the strongest emotions associated with them. They’re also a reflection of “repressed wishes.” You know there had to be repression in there somewhere. So, the dreams are going to be expressions of things you want, but don’t want to admit you want because it’s too painful to think about not getting them, and your brain is going to use images that are emotionally meaningful to get your attention.

So what, exactly, does the brain do during dreaming? Imaging studies have shown that as the brain goes to sleep and into REM sleep (our primary dreaming sleep stage, although it can happen at other times, too), the frontal cortex powers down. You can think of it as the logical, strict parent going to bed and leaving the teenagers awake with an unlocked liquor cabinet, or even better, with Pandora’s Box.

When the sleeping brain opens Pandora’s Box and starts dreaming, what happens? The more advanced parts of the brain that cause movement turn off so you won’t act stuff out or respond physically to what you’re dreaming about, but some of the ones deeper in the brain turn on, which contributes to the feeling of movements in dreams. This is also what happens when your dog or cat starts dreaming since we share some of these “less advanced” structures.

The imagery itself is likely coming from an area called the visual association cortex. During the day, it gets its input from sight and imagination, but at night, it’s all about memory and imagination, which explains why it pulls in images you saw during the day but also makes up weird stuff. This may also be why dream imagery fades as we get competing input through our morning. The theory is that the visual association cortex communicates with the anterior limbic structures, which contribute to the experience of emotions. And anyone who’s woken from a nightmare or stress dream is very aware that emotions are involved in dreaming.

As you can see, dreaming is a complex process that involves several different parts of the brain. I think it’s interesting that so many of the structures that cause and interpret our daytime experiences are doing the same in our dreams, but without us being aware of it or remembering most of it. As for messages, it’s likely that our brains sometimes use our dreams to get our attention, but the meanings of specific images will differ between individuals.

I love hearing about dreams, so please tell me… Are you a vivid dreamer? What’s the weirdest one you can remember?

Note: The Jung quote comes from a translation of a compilation of a bunch of his works. Or maybe it’s a compilation of a translation of his works. Either way, here’s the reference:

Jung, C.G. (1974). Dreams. (R.F.C. Hull, Trans.). New Jersey: Princeton/Bollingen. (Original works published 1916-1945).

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About Tangled Dreams

When the walls between reality and the dream world crumble, sleeping with the lights on won’t save anyone from their nightmares.

Restaurant reviewer Audrey Aurora Sonoma’s life is like a steakhouse meal: utterly predictable, comfortable, and just exciting enough to satisfy her independent streak. But when odd characters from her dreams show up during daylight hours – were-bats and a vegetarian dragon, of all things! – the menu goes from familiar to fusion. When she learns the job she accepted in her dream is real, well… Who would have guessed the goddess Persephone exists? Finding her – and figuring out why the walls between reality and the Collective Unconscious are slipping – seem to be impossible tasks for a mere mortal.

Damien Lewis turned down promotions to keep his life orderly and predictable. He has enough challenge with real-life hassles like eating regular meals. And forget dating. But after encountering three naked, delirious Jane Does on consecutive nights, he suspects more than drugs are behind their appearances, and he soon becomes much more involved than he’d like.

As the walls between the Collective Unconscious and real world continue to erode, vampires, demons, and, of course, were-bats come through to prey on those who get in the way of the god who is masterminding it all with human help. Can Audrey and Damien face their biggest fears and work together to stop the waking world from being overrun by creatures that no human has dared to dream of? Or will their nightmares become real – and permanent – when the pathways open for good?

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About the Author

By day, clinical psychologist Cecilia Dominic – her pen name – helps people cure their insomnia. By night, this urban fantasy and steampunk author writes fiction that keeps her readers turning pages past bedtime. She prefers the term “versatile” to “conflicted” and has been published in short story and novel-length fiction. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with one husband and two cats.

 

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Breakaway by Michelle Diener – Reivew (plus a sneak review)

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About Breakaway

Sofie lives in the shadow of Felicitos–the tethered way station built to funnel Garmen’s mineral wealth up to the top of the atmosphere, where it’s loaded onto space ships. Because Garmen is a breakaway planet, not part of the Verdant String Coalition, the companies that control it are free to run things as they see fit, and Sofie is part of the resistance that wants to end their rule.

Her main goal, though, is to get away from Garmen altogether, and leave the drudgery and violence behind her. That goal is complicated by her involvement with Leo Gaudier, a shadowy crime lord whose ability to cheat the companies that own Garmen is something she admires. And when she stumbles on a terrible new direction the companies are taking, a secret alliance that will endanger everyone she cares about, she sees her chances of escape slipping away.

Leo is all too aware he doesn’t know enough about Sofie, something his own security detail is not slow to point out, but he can’t keep away. When Sofie reveals her links to the resistance, and shows him those in control of Garmen have begun swimming in dangerous waters, he realizes his plan to overthrown them in a careful operation of a thousand cuts is no longer workable.

The time has come for a single, lethal strike–and that will not be without consequences . . .

Review of Breakaway

Everybody has secrets. This is the type of story where everybody really wants to keep those secrets because they don’t know who is safe. Two examples of people with secrets are the heroine and hero, Sofia and Leo.

Sofia is a tough survivor, once an active part of the resistance, but, having walked away, now works for a Core company – subversively gathering info and occasionally supplying it to the resistance. Her upbringing as the daughter of the architect of the Tether has provided her with some interesting and crucial experiences. Her father’s death left her and her sister to cope on their own. Sophia is mentally tough and physically prepared to take on anyone.

Leo, despite Sophia’s Chapter One observation that ‘Leo Gaudier walked a dangerous path’, seems a little soft. After all, he is the one that is rescued not once, not twice, oh who’s counting, by Sophia. Where are his bodyguards? Where is his own toughness? And then later he has the nerve to tell Sophia to hang back for her own safety. He, too, is working secretly against the Cores, but his secretive actions are not talked about much, only hinted at. As you get closer to the end, you will find out more, but up until then, he seems a bit, dare I say wimpy?

The Cores, the ruling corporations, are the bad guys. They are big business with no regard for the little people. No faces. Set all the rules. Founded and rule the Breakaway worlds. Having the big no-name, no-face antagonist leaves me floundering a bit. I guess I am a fan of the really good bad villain. Evidence of the Core’s badness is not shown so much as told. Still, the no-name, no-face villain is still a villain and demands to be dealt with. The question is – How?

So basically, we are coming into a really bad situation that the Verdant String worlds would not approve of. However, they do nothing. What are they waiting for? Turns out it is the kind of evidence that makes people cry.

By the way, if you read the two prequel novellas Interference and Insurgency, you will understand more about why the Verdant String should care. While the author does provide some of the background from these stories in Breakaway, the references to the past are really best covered in those two books. I highly recommend reading Interference and Insurgency before Breakaway.

My reservations about hero Leo and the no-name, no-face bad guys leads me to a 4.5 rating. But I must round up to 5 because I can also tell you that, in Breakaway, Ms. Diener delivers in her typical style – a well thought out intricate plot, several complex, thoughtful characters and a thought-provoking situation on a futuristic world.

The author provided a copy of her book so that I could bring you this honest review.

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Sneak Review
For Fans of Michelle Diener’s Sky Raiders Series

About Intended

For fans of the Sky Raiders series, this one is for you . . .

SKY RAIDERS opens with Garek returning home to Taya, only to find her gone, and the whole village of Pan Nuk deserted. Garek is prepared to do anything to find his intended, and so begins the Sky Raiders trilogy, but how did Garek and Taya firest meet and fall in love?

This novella (12,500 words) is for fans of the series, set before the sky raiders arrive and before Garek goes off to Garamundo.

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Really Quick Review of Intended

If you enjoyed the Sky Raiders series, read Intended! This prequel story gets 5 stars from me.  If you would like to read it, you will need to be a member of Michelle Diener’s New Release Notification list. If you haven’t signed up, you can do so here: https://www.michellediener.com/books/intended-a-prequel-to-sky-raiders/

Alien Captured (Zyrgin Warriors #5) by Marie Dry – Review

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About Alien Captured

In a bleak future, where government systems are breaking down and poverty and violence reign, on an abandoned farm in Montana, Susannah had a simple plan. She’d capture an alien, sell him to the resistance, and use the money to save her son.

Instead, Susannah had an arrogant alien trapped in a pit who acted as if she was the prisoner. He wanted to kill her dog and insisted she should care for the wound he sustained when he fell into the pit she dug to trap him. On top of that, she had no way to know if the resistance got her message. Every day that passed, she doubted her decision to hand Azagor over to the resistance.

But her son, her baby, was being held by people who considered him unclean because he was conceived out of wedlock—and time was running out.

Review of Alien Captured

I can’t review this book without giving some consideration to the heroine, Susannah. Some might look on Susannah as a weak character. Indeed, in modern contemporary society, she would be considered not only weak, but also backward. But the author provides a thorough background on Susannah, who is very much a product of her upbringing. In this case, I think nature and nurture had it in for her and the other females in her cult. Susannah is a member of a cult that is ruled a man (Brother Josephatus) who fancies himself to be the right hand of God. The women do all the work and have no rights. The women were raised this way and accept the status quo even if they do not like it.

But the cult has abandoned Susannah because they (Brother Joseph) believe she is no good. First, she had a child out of wedlock. In addition to that, she claims to have seen a demon.

Well, that demon was actually the Zyrgin warrior, Azagor. I’m sure anyone could make that mistake. They are green-skinned, red-eyed and have a forehead ridge that could be a horn.

Left on her own, and desperate to get her son Noah back, Susannah’s strengths spring to life. First she conceived the Alien Captured plan. Now that is a title I would not have expected to see in the Zyrgin Warrior series – Alien Captured? The highly trained, arrogant ‘I-am-a-Zyrgin-Warrior‘ type should never have allowed himself to be captured.

And yet, it happened. It would be spoilerish to say much more about the warrior’s capture. But if you think Azagor will stay captive for very long….well, he is a Zyrgin Warrior!

The captive situation puts Azagor just where he wants to be, in the company of Susannah. As you can see, the warrior has some preconceived ideas of what should be happening:

Instead of harboring fantasies of contacting the resistance, she should want to tend to his wound. Sponge down his body and be so impressed with his superior warrior’s physique that she would want to be his breeder.

Susannah treats him as a dangerous enemy to be used. He treats her as a captor to convince to become is breeder. Breeder is the Zrygin word for mate. Azagor (and most of his fellow warriors) don’t have any clue that human women are not all all keen on that word. Misunderstanding ensues, followed by humor.

The lack of understanding about each other and their cultures makes for a lot of misunderstanding. Some is not very funny, but some is quite humorous. What is really funny is what Azagor thinks he knows because of what other human women have told him and the human movies he has watched. I think the cultural differences that create such wonderful interactions are my favorite parts of the Zrygin warrior stories.

But this one also has one more thing that always to appeals to me. A dog. Killer is a Teacup Yorkie – the last of it’s kind. He is a tiny little dog with a huge heart. He takes on the mean green alien without backing down. I can’t help but love this little Killer, even if Azagor thinks it looks like a rat and doesn’t like him:

She was about to grab Killer and run when Azagor stopped as abruptly as he’d started. “He is small and weak. You should kill him. I will get you a better pet.” He absently scratched at his wound, and she swallowed. Didn’t he feel any pain? “The Aurelians have pets.” He said it as if having a pet was the strangest thing to do. “They are called battle leopards. It will protect you.” His lips pulled into what she supposed was his attempt at a smile. If he ever wanted to scare anyone to death, all he had to do was smile. “We’ll make the rat the first snack for your new pet.”

There is more to that rat story, but I won’t say more.

There is also a child, but in this case, he is too young to talk, and therefore does not have that ‘cute kid’ appeal. Susannah’s baby, Noah, was taken from her as soon as he was born. He doesn’t appear until late in the story, but his appearance makes for a heart-wrenching scene. And while the baby does not qualify for cute kid status, the Zrygin warriors reactions to Noah are quite endearing.

There are some interesting, quieter side stories. One about the project of building something in space. Also there is talk of a previous time travel project. I am not sure if I would know more if I had read the first three books in the series? But I would like to know more.  Perhaps there will be additional details in book 6.

I really enjoy the alien/human relations in this series. In Alien Captured, the cultural clashes and misunderstandings make for the best rocky start to what will turn into a very cool romance between the determined heroine and the even more determined hero. If you have enjoyed other books in the series, you will like this one. If you are new to the series, go easy on Azagor, until he wises up. You’ll like him!

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review.

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