Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Nightmares Can Be Murder by Mary Kennedy: Guest Author, Review & Giveaway

Nightmares Can Be Murder

The Strange and Wonderful World of Dreams

When I told my friends and colleagues about my new Penguin series, The Dream Club Mysteries, I was surprised at the outpouring of interest and support. Everyone, it seems, is fascinated by dreams, curious about their meaning and dying to discuss their own dreams. Are dreams really the “royal road to the unconscious” as Sigmund Freud proposed? Can they give us new insights into our own deepest thoughts and most hidden emotions? Or are they simply random firings of neurons as the brain rests and recharges itself, taking a few hours to deal with the “residue of the day?”

I knew I had to write a book about dreams and especially about “dream clubs,” which are quite popular here in the northeast. In The Dream Club Mysteries, a group of Savannah women meet once a week to share their dreams, eat some delicious pastries and solve a murder or two.

Ali Blake, who runs a vintage candy shop right off the Historic District, founded the Dream Club. When business was flat, she invited her high powered MBA sister, Taylor, to join her in Savannah in the hopes that she could pump up business. Taylor was a skeptical about dream interpretaion at first, but now she’s becoming a believer.

There’s a good mix of characters in the club; the Harper sisters, who are well into their eighties and know everything about anyone who has lived in Savannah for the past fifty years, Sam Stiles, a local policewoman, and Sybil Powers, who fancies herself a “dream hopper.” If you’ve never heard of a dream hopper, it’s someone who claims she can “visit” other people’s dreams. And of course, there’s a hunky private detective, Noah Chandler who helps with the investigations.

Sometimes the Dream Club meetings are full of surprises. In Nightmares Can Be Murder, the first of my Dream Club Mysteries, Lucinda Macavey, a prim and proper headmistress of a girls’ school in Savannah, recounts a most unusual dream. She finds herself shopping in the frozen food aisle of the local supermarket— stark naked! Nothing could be more out of character for the shy Lucinda and the dream club members offer various interpretations. 

Appearing naked in dreams is actually quite common. The dreamer finds herself in a public place “without a stitch on,” and yet onlookers seem not to notice. Dreams don’t follow the rules of logic and time and space don’t exist in dreams. Also, there is no “backstory” in dreams. The dream exists in the present. Lucinda doesn’t ponder how she got to the supermarket, how she could have possibly driven there naked, how she could have left the house without clothes or why no one stopped her. She is just “there,” in the immediate situation in the supermarket and has to deal with it.

So how did the dream club handle Lucinda’s dream in my mystery novel? The dream members agree that being naked is a metaphor for feeling helpless and vulnerable. Maybe Lucinda has a deep dark secret that she doesn’t want exposed? Maybe she has hidden urges that she doesn’t dare acknowledge?

Lucinda seems to be a very proper Southern lady, but in her dreams, she has been thrust into her worst nightmare—appearing naked in public. Lucinda joins in the discussion and admits that she has been experiencing some stress lately. She took early retirement from the Academy and she’s not sure of her future plans. Uncertainty—in any form, whether it relates to a job or a relationship or finances-- can lead to anxiety and that might explain Lucinda’s dream. (Other things might explain Lucinda’s anxiety, but I can’t say more without revealing the plot.)

If you think you might enjoy reading more about the Dream Club and the clever way the members rely on their insights to solve a few murders, I hope you’ll read Nightmares Can Be Murder. You might be in for some surprises, and I guarantee you will look at your dreams in a whole new way!

Mary Kennedy is a clinical psychologist in private practice and lives on the East Coast with her husband and eight neurotic cats. Both husband and cats have resisted all her attempts to psychoanalyze them, but she remains optimistic. Visit her website at www.marykennedy.net

Giveaway: Leave a comment by noon eastern on Friday, September 5th for the chance to win a copy of Nightmares Can Be Murder. (US entries only, please.)

About the book: Business consultant Taylor Blake has returned to Savannah, Georgia, to help her sister Allison turn her dream of running an old-fashioned candy store into a reality. Allison is also interested in dream interpretation and invites Taylor to her Friday night Dream Club, where members meet once a week to share and analyze their dreams.

When a local dance instructor, Chico Hernandez, is found dead in his studio, and the murder scene has an eerie resemblance to one of the dreams shared at their meeting, Taylor can’t help but be intrigued. And when her sister, who was briefly involved with the dance teacher, becomes the prime suspect, Taylor and their fellow club members can’t be caught napping. It’s up to them to dream up a solution to the murder before Allison faces a real-life nightmare.

Tortie Shorties
Book reviews that are short and sweet...just like Truffles!

Have you ever had a dream and wondered what it meant or where on earth it came from? That's exactly the premise behind Mary Kennedy's brand new Dream Club Mystery series.

Taylor Blake is visiting Savannah to help her sister Allison make a success of her vintage candy shop, Oldies But Goodies. The book begins at a meeting of the Dream Club; another interest of Allison's is dream interpretation, but Taylor is a skeptic. But it's a nightmare when a local dance instructor is murdered and the crime scene looks exactly like a dream shared at their latest meeting. In addition to being a shady businessman, Chico Hernandez was quite the Latin Lothario who left a string of broken hearts in his wake - including Allison's - who admits to visiting Chico the night he died. Soon Taylor comes to suspect various members of the Dream Club.

I loved this cozy with such an original concept, set in charming Savannah, and filled with delightful Southern women. Taylor and Allison are a team, sisters who are also the best of friends. Other favorite characters include retired teacher Lucinda who is trying her hand at online dating, and octogenarians Minerva and Rose, who own a flower shop which mainly sells wreaths for funeral homes.

I was stumped until the very end of this mystery, when Allison's beloved cats Barney and Scout ended up uncovering a clue that led me to figure out the killer. This is a wonderful debut to an exciting new series!


Angel Prancer Pie said...

Oh my goodness, this sounds great. Books are near and dear to our Mommy's heart and she is very excited about this giveaway!

Happy Tuesday!

Malka E said...

oh! dreams AND cats! (and mysteries to solve!) can't wait!

Michstjame said...

This really is an original idea for a cozy series and it sounds both intriguing and delightful, putting "Nightmares Can Be Murder" at the top of my need to get list. I often have vivid (and unsettling) dreams, so this is right up my alley. Thanks for such an interesting post, review and giveaway.


This sounds like a good read. I've always been fascinated by dreams and what they mean.

Unknown said...

Sounds like a fantastic new series, thank you for the chance tow in :)

Anonymous said...

So looking forward to reading this book...and I love, Love, LOVE the cover!

Happy September, Melissa & Truffles!

patucker54 at aol dot com

traveler said...

A delightful and unique book which would be enjoyable. Many thanks. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

petite said...

This book sounds captivating and special. Thanks for this great feature and giveaway. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

NoraA said...

I'm very interested in dreams... although in my case it would be the nightmare portion of that field. I'd love to win this book and use it as the start of the series collection.

Layla Morgan Wilde ( Cat Wisdom 101) said...

What a great premise for a series! I belong to a private FB group that does discussing dreams but no sleuthing.

Rita Wray said...

Sounds great, I can't wait to read it.

Unknown said...

I love the premise and the title ! kathambre@yahoo.com

Sue said...

I's love to go to a dream club meeting. And I like that cats are also in this book. Thanks for a chance to win it.

kiki w said...

Looks like a great cozy mystery.

xzjh04@ gmail.com

Alicia said...

I'm looking forward to reading this one.....

Unknown said...

It's always interesting when someone you barely know (perhaps at work) says, always in a loud voice, "I dreamed about you last night!" You hope they will not go into details, but they usually do. "Yes, we were riding on a train and it went into this long, dark tunnel..." That's when you try to get away as quickly as possible.
libbydodd at comcast dot net

Cats Herd You said...

This book sounds great! Except the being naked in dreams thing. We think it's making the head peep remember something because she's blushing.

Kitties Blue said...

This sounds so fascinating. What a great series it will be. We are very interested in winning. Mom only shares her dreams when the are really stupid to here way of thinking. And we cats never tell. XO, Lily Olivia, Mauricio, Misty May, Giulietta, Fiona, Astrid, Lisbeth and Calista Jo

Meg C. said...

I first heard about this new series several months ago, and after finding out what it was about, it quickly became one of the books that I was most looking forward to its release day just because it sounded so good. I’m thrilled that it has finally come. Thanks for the chance to win.


Kimberlee said...

This looks like something I would love to read. Thanks for the giveaway and the introduction of a new cozy mystery series.


Karen B said...

A dream club - sounds interesting, but a bit scary!

Jaisy Bonie said...

In today’s performance-oriented professional world, most of the people around you also have the same qualities and credentials that you possess. So, an MBA degree might help you to stand out.
one-year MBA

cyn209 said...

is it normal to dream something that doesn't make any sense at all, then a snippet could be something that happened that day?!?!?!?

thank you for the giveaway!!

Kaye Killgore said...

What an interesting subject.