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Anna DeStefano: Embrace the things that go bump in your nightmares…

**EDITED TO ADD: On 6/4, Entangled is offering  a free digital copy of HER FORBIDDEN BETRAYAL to one of today’s lucky commenter.

Very excited to welcome bestselling author Anna DeStefano to Turning The Page. When I first stepped into the online writing world, Anna’s blog was one of the first I followed. Her positive attitude and wealth of experience make her a standout author. Thanks for guesting, Anna!

Embrace the things that go bump in your nightmares…

Thanks for having me over to play, Stacy. Let’s talk about dark and spooky stuff!

You and your buddies seem to like that sort of thing—freaks. As luck would have it, I have a contemporary gothic suspense releasing on June 15th, because mixing scary stuff with happily-ever-after-endings is one of my favorite things. Which makes me a freak, too ;o) So scoot over and pass the popcorn!

Her Forgotten Betrayal, a launch book for Entangled’s Dead Sexy line, is full of spine-tingling fun, with my amnesiac heroine fighting for her life, her love and her memory, and ultimately facing her nightmares in order save the day. Oh, and most of the book is set at night, over a forty-eight-hour period, while Shaw Cassidy believes either her mind or her creepy house (or possibly the hero) is trying to kill her. So much gothic-y goodness…

But the nightmares in this story, the things you’ll find at first most terrifying, end up being the key to the solving the mystery. The more Shaw listens to and learns from her sleeping mind, the better she’ll be able to protect herself. And the symbols in her dreams never actually mean what she’s at first afraid they mean. Her instincts are trying to tell her things she needs to know, and they’re using the strongest emotions they can to reach her—exactly the way our dreams work in our own lives. Paying attention to how your dreams make you feel is the key. Emotion is the conduit between your sleeping and waking self.

It was absolutely thrilling for me to be able to weave these tidbits of accuracy through a fun, fast-paced romantic suspense that most readers will love for a host of other reasons.

For me, and for others who’re fascinated by dream theory, and for everyone who revels in cool things that go bump in the night, finding this kind of “creepy” in the midst of a contemporary romance is a blast. Because it’s an almost-real kind of creepy. Dare I say it, an optimistic kind of creepy?

That’s right.


The underlying message of Her Forgotten Betrayal is to follow your dreams—even the scarier ones. Because your dreams are just that—yours. They’re your thoughts and your intuition and your memories. And when your dreams go dark, it’s often your mind’s way of focusing you on the tough stuff you’re avoiding in your every day. In Shaw’s case, her mind’s completely shut down so she doesn’t have to face her worst fears. But those realities are bleeding through into her sleep and fighting their way back to her—so she’ll have everything she needs to beat her phantoms at their own game.

Our darkness is a very real part of us. And as you might have guessed, it’s typically a very real part of my writing, whether I’m penning home and family stories, suspense, or psychic thrillers. Because darker emotions are just as real as the breezier things we often prefer to spend our energy on. I’m all about the fun, and as a romance writer I’m all about the beauty of a happy ending. But isn’t the lighter stuff at its best when it’s the product of being real and honest and powerful? I think so.

Pay attention to the tough things that come your way, particularly in your dreams. Value them. Learn from them. You never know when your perfect ending is waiting just on the other side of the spooky thing you’re fighting so hard to avoid…

So, dreams and nightmares, fantasy and realism, lightness and spooky drama. Oh, and I forgot to mention a hunky FBI undercover operative and a sizzling, tense relationship that seems doomed from the start… Bwahahahahaha! Doesn’t Her Forgotten Betrayal sound like a blast?

What’s the scariest nightmare image you can remember? On my blog we talk Dream Theories all the time. I’d love to hear about your experiences, either here or there. And maybe help you make sense out of what you’ve seen in your sleeping mind.

Or on the lighter side, share your happiest dream memory. Remembering any dream—having it touch your waking world—is a powerful thing. Tell us how a dream has affected you in a positive way. Because that’s the gravy my friends. That’s what this imagination thing all about!



Remembering will save her life.
But will the truth destroy their love forever?

When the CEO of a global technology empire retreats to her ancestral mountain mansion to heal from a brutal shooting, she discovers the danger has just begun. Suffering from amnesia, Shaw Cassidy is at the mercy of nightmares that soon morph into something much more real…as well as a menacing stalker determined to toy with her sanity.

The FBI suspects her of illegally selling top-secret research, and has sent an agent to find evidence of her treason. She doesn’t realize the man who sweeps in from the cold claiming to be her protector, and her former love, is keeping dangerous secrets from her. She begins to trust Cole Marinos, unaware that he is about to repeat the most painful betrayal of her past–a past she doesn’t remember…a past that may kill her.

“DeStefano crafts a tense and touching suspense about forgotten pasts and reunited lovers.” —Caridad Pineiro, NYT and USA Today Bestselling Author


Best-selling, award-winning author Anna DeStefano wants to you stop, look, and keep digging, until you find the soul of your own fantasies. No matter how moody the setting or impossible the dilemma, Anna’s characters and stories challenge you to hope and dream for your own exciting future, the way her strong heroines and hunky heroes do. Her Forgotten Betrayal has its own Pinterest page ( Scoot over for all the fun details and updates. Then join Anna’s blog each week for posts on The Soul Of The Matter, Dream Theories, Things My Teenager Says, How We Write, Waterfall Challenges, and more. And to keep up with all her 2012 releases, friend her of Facebook and follow her on Twitter.

Thanks so much to Anna for this inspiring guest blogs. My dreams are always full of crazy plots and characters, and figuring them out is a great way to dig deeper. Please take a minute and leave Anna some love.

50 comments on… “Anna DeStefano: Embrace the things that go bump in your nightmares…”

  1. Wonderful post and gave me so much to think about in terms of using my dreams as jumping off points…in writing and in life! Amazing. The book sounds thrilling!! Best wishes for oodles of success!

    • Thanks for commenting, Natalie. I thought this was a really interesting post, and I love the idea of dream theory and how Anna has incorporated it into her writing.

  2. beverlydiehl

    I keep a dream journal by my bed, along with a good dream interp book. Was relieved to find out that a sexy dream about my boss was about getting closer to him EMOTIONALLY, not a secret yearning for his bod (which I totally do not have IRL). Used to frequently dream about sinking ships, a la the Titanic, but I know what those were about, and I finally got out of THAT relationship.

    That’s the thing about dreams, if we don’t listen or pay attention, they’ll keep haunting us till we do. Will have to look up some books of Anna’s – with the dream thing and the butterfly thing, seems like we’re on the same wavelength.

    • Butterflies have been one of my totms for years, Beverly. New beginnings are waiting around every corner-both good and bad. And it’s all postiive, in the end, as long as we keep challening ourselves to make the changes we must and to move forward ;o)

      And, yes, the emotions are the keys in our dreams and our lives. What are we feeling and why, and how can we make the adjustments we need, to learn from those emotions without letting them rule our choices…

    • I should keep a dream journal–I have wild dreams almost every night. Sometimes I’m flying, many times I’m searching through a house that never ends, other times they’re nightmares. I might have to invest in a dream theory book!

  3. Stacy–I think it went missing in the communiation back and forth, but Entangled’s offering a free digital copy of HFB (once the book is released) to one lucky commenter today. Could you add that to the post, so folks know?

    Thanks!!! ~~Anna

    • Anna, I’m sorry about that. I just got the chance to check my responses! I’m so sorry. Adding that now and will FB/Tweet it.

  4. Anna
    I believe that dreams are the windows to our fruitful imaginations. Your subconsious is the gateway to the possibilities that most could never imagine on a given day. While we sleep, we can chase the forbidden and the fanciful. If I didn’t have dreams then I wouldn’t have my goals and that is death to the mind of a writer. Keep dreaming and keep feeding those scary places that make us strive for the inner hero within us all.
    Ginny Lynn

    • Inner heroes are my favorite kinds of warriors, Ginny! It’s what we are on the inside, and how we find the courage to let our inner strength shine, that fascinates me as I write!

    • That’s really interesting. They are definitely a great way to tap into our imaginations and we can learn a lot if we stop and listen. Thanks!

  5. I’ve never met an Anna DeStefano book I didn’t love! Her writing is awesome and her support to other authors is wonderful.

  6. This past weekend I started to read author Lynne Marshall’s ARC of Too Close for Comfort, which will be released later this year. It ‘s contemporary romance. I dreamed of spiders, and I hate spiders and have ever since I was kid. Anyway these spiders in the dream were called gray widows (not black widows) and Lynne just carried them out of the room she expected me to sleep in. : ) Because I hate spiders I thought the dream was negative but in looking up my dream dictionary I find they mean prosperity. How about that? : )

    • Isn’t that cool, Robena? Whta’s amazing is that you were paying attention and remembered your dream. A lot of people can’t. Becoming more active in your dream life is a wonderful way to connect with the subconscious things playing out in our lives. Good for you!

    • Ooh, I hate spiders. The plot of Lisa Gardner’s Say Goodbye relies heavily on spiders, and it’s really creepy. I learned more than I ever wanted to know reading that book. Too Close For Comfort sounds really good, too!

  7. I’ve used dreams to start a story. Their transitory nature means we have to capture the butterfly and set it free at the same time.

    • I tend to dream the strongest when I’m planning and then revising a story. Not so much with the drafting stage. I think that part of the process is too exhausting for me, and to focused, to leave room for dreams. But I’m at my most create in planning and especially when I’m revising, and the images in my sleeping mind soar

  8. How delightful to find a kindred spirit who is both an eternal optimist and is fascinated by the human psyche. I am, unfortunately, one of those people who rarely remember their dreams. But I had a doozy last night that I’m a little afraid to try to interpret. But it might just become the plot of one of my books. Her Forgotten Betrayal is definitely on my tbr list now.

    • That’s okay about the double post. WordPress is being funny today. I have crazy dreams and usually remember them for a while. I should write more down because they’re nots. Love that you might use one for your book!

  9. (Hope this doesn’t post twice; it disappeared after I signed in) How delightful to find a kindred spirit who is both an eternal optimist and is fascinated by the human psyche. I am, unfortunately, one of those people who rarely remember their dreams. But I had a doozy last night that I’m a little afraid to try to interpret. It might just become the plot of one of my books. Her Forgotten Betrayal is definitely on my tbr list now.

  10. Reetta Raitanen

    Wow, Anna, your new book sounds awesome. I’ve marked 15th day down on my calendar for some great reading time 🙂 I’m frustrated with my dreams because I rarely remember them in the morning. But I can visualize very well while awake when I just close my eyes.

    • Remember Reetta and Kassandra, listen for the emotions that linger. It’s okay if you can’t recall the images that came with them. Your mind will remember what you were feeling, and those emotional markers will lead you to a great place where you’ll be thinking about what ‘s going on in your life that might have led you to dream in a certain way. Then–bingo! You’ll discover something new to do or consider or rethink, that will make your waking world even better ;o)

  11. Shannon Esposito

    Your book does sound like a lot of awesomeness rolled into one story! I’ll have to check it out. I’m fascinated by dreams. I’ve always had very vivid nightmares. I’ve been reading a lot on lucid dreaming to maybe try to control my dreams and stop the madness. Though, maybe I should just be trying to figure out the message behind them?

    • Lucid dreaming has long been a fascination of mine. I’ve been able to achieve it since I was a kid, and at the time had no idea that others couldn’t. In fact, the metaphysics behind lucid dreaming theory is what led me to writ my sci-fi/fantasy “Legacy” series.

      I do think it’s a better approach to try and understand what’s leading the nightmares to you, rather than trying to banish them ;o) The fact that you’re not focusing on something that’s causing you either strong emotion or anxiety in your waking life, tends to be what leads to vivid nightmares. Not always bad things, mind you. Just things you feel strongly about. And if blocking those feelings while you awake leads to dealing with them as you sleep, I’m not sure those feelings are going to simply disappear if you then try to suppress them in your dreams…

      Take a closer look–without fearing what you see. You just might pleasantly surprise yourself ;o)

    • I’m really looking forward to this book. Ew on the nightmares. Mine are few and far between but I’ve had dreams about certain things happening…and then those things have come to be (in roundabout ways). I don’t know what that means, but it’s very creepy.


  12. Yes! I like embracing the dark side. For years I had a dream of machete man. He would chase me with a machete trying to decapitate me. What a chase – and terror-filled! This cat and mouse went on for years. Then one day, all these people surged forward with garden hoses and beat him to death. Well, he never came back around again. I was rescued! Who knows what the heck that all meant – but my demons were overcome – and dont we do the same in our writing? Write of the things that scare us, terrorize us, make us feel abandoned and lost? And then how to find out way back? Even if its through our characters. SO yes – lets embrace the dark to find the light again. And Her Forgotten Betrayal sounds like delicious dark. Thanks Anna – and Stacy!

    • I love the dark side, lol. Even though it’s crazy, it’s really what drives life in so many ways. Your bad guy sounds awful! No wonder you write such dark stuff!

    • Donna, a friend of mine had a similar dream experience. Without going into details that would betray her confidence, once the creature chasing her was confronted, not only did the dreams stop but she realized days later that the chaser was a chronic illness she had, and her attitude about that illness shifted drastically after that, in a positive way.

      • That’s the amazing things about looking honestly at what we want most to avoid–we learn whatever we need to about ourselves, to deal with what we have to. The mind is a wonderful, mysterious thing!

    • Don’t be afraid of even the strongest emotions, August. I try to live that way. Don’t always get it done, though. That’s why it’s great to be able to write heroine’s with a lot to deal with and a lot on the line, so I can put them through their paces and watch them thrive ;o) That’s the best kind of happily-ever-after ending, right?

  13. I love the idea of following all our dreams – because the best dreams are usually scary – that’s why we don’t follow them. can’t wait to read this book. great post, ladies

  14. annieseaton26

    I love going to bed each night…I look forward to my dreams with delicious anticipation.
    Many stories have come to me in a dream.

    • 🙂 My dreams are so crazy. I’ve always thought they were a product of an overactive imagination, but I’m going to have to look into this dream theory. Thanks for stopping by.

  15. Joanna Aislinn

    I’m big on all the inspiration here. B/c I’ve got this thing about manifesting the negative in the universe I won’t list my scariest dreams here, but I remember making out with Jeff Bridges and hanging out in one. I decided dreams are a real dimension that I can’t directly tap into as soon as I woke up from that one! Great post and best wishes with your newest release, Anna. Thanks for having Anna, Stacy!

    • You know, I didn’t use to believe in the power of positive thinking, but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve definitely realized how much both positive and negative thinking manifest in our lives. Ooh, making out with Jeff Bridges – not a bad dream at all.
      You’re welcome. Thanks for stopping by!

      • Joanna Aislinn

        Looking forward to doing so again! And YOU’RE welcome 🙂

  16. I know I’m arriving a little late, but there was one particular thing that I just had to comment on–the idea that we can have darkness and truth in our stories and still have an authentic happy ending. I think there’s a misconception that you can have one or the other but not both. It’s nice to hear someone champion for both truth and a happily ever after.

    • I completely agree, Marcy. Life certainly doesn’t come with out truth and we don’t always have a happily ever after, so I really appreciate truth in stories. And I appreciate people being true to their characters and their arc. Happily ever after is different for everyone.

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