Friday, September 20, 2013

Book Tour: Dangerous Dreams by Aileen Harkwood Interview & Giveaway

Genre: Paranormal/Romantic Suspense
Number of pages: estimated 220 pages
Word Count: 65K

Book Description:
Plagued by nightmares of terrorist bombings, Lara Freberg is a so-called Lost One, unaware of her psychic gift for literally being in two places at once. While her true body sleeps, her twin is helplessly drawn to scenes of unspeakable horror.

Kidnapped by a corrupt, CIA-like organization determined to exploit her abilities, Lara is given no choice. Cooperate or die. Until the midnight spying missions that make her the willing prisoner of an erotic stranger. Does she dare trust him with her warning of a future attack on American soil?

Jack Mayfield will never forgive himself for being too late to free Lara from the Greys, The Dreamrunners Society's sworn enemies. An elite front line operative, Jack is able to find and save the Lost Ones no one else can. Nothing, however, can prepare him for the shock of losing the woman who holds the key to unlocking his war weary heart. Now Jack is in a race for her life. Lara's dreaming half may be able to drive him wild with passion, but can he believe her when she says the Greys haven't turned her against him and the Society?

It won't be easy to rescue his one true love from certain death.

The hand that clamped itself over Lara Freberg’s sleeping face was sweaty and smelled of formaldehyde. She jerked awake in an instant, completely disoriented.
She’d been deep into one of her nightmares. Explosions. Fires. Hundreds slaughtered. Something grabbing her ankle.
Where was she? Was she still in the dream? No one ever touched her in the nightmares.
“Hurry up,” a man said in the dark.
She was in her bed, at home in her Baltimore condo.
The crushing weight she’d felt in her dream, which she’d intuited as the emotional weight of the violence perpetrated on innocent lives, was actual, crushing weight in real life. A strange man knelt on top of her.
My God, what’s happening?
Lara tried to scream, but the hand over her mouth dug into her face in an explicit warning. The man’s knees pinned her thighs to the mattress, while his free hand easily captured both her wrists and forced her still.
She bucked against his restraint on her.
      “Come on, come on,” the man said.
      Was she talking to her?
      No, he directed his words toward someone else in her bedroom she couldn’t see. They shouldn’t have been able to get in here. She paid for a security service, as did everyone else in the complex. Who were they? What did they want?
Then it hit her, the answer obvious. Her heart, already racing, sped up to a painful degree.
Frantically, she fought harder. She tried to throw off the man who smelled like dead things, but tangled up in her bedcovers, with his body weight pressing down on her, she was trapped to the bed.
“Forget it, Lara,” Formaldehyde man said. He pushed down, shoving her head so hard into the mattress she could feel each spring through the padding. That horrible smell coming off of his skin reminded her of fetal pigs in eighth grade biology class. Bile rose in her throat. She began to gag.
Now,” the man said to his accomplice.
She still couldn’t make out her attacker’s face in the dark, but she could tell he was lean, fit, and had a short, professional haircut. The other man, what she could see of him in the shadows, looked similar. Why would men like this break into her apartment to rape her?
Something glinted in her peripheral vision, the needle at the end of a disposable syringe. She watched the accomplice holding the syringe come closer. A tiny squirt of liquid from the tip of the needle sprayed her bare skin.
Lara thrashed anew, her thoughts frenzied. She didn’t know what they wanted with her, or why they were here, but she imagined the worse, that she had only hours, if that, to live. She sobbed without being fully aware of it. What was next? What would they do to her? Would they torture her first? Cut? Stab? Blind? Skin?
She couldn’t fight them. She didn’t have a chance at all. Seconds later, the needle jabbed her, a sharp, slicing pain. Coldness followed as the substance was forced into her arm by the syringe’s plunger.
Her head swam. Whatever the man had given her produced an immediate lethargy she couldn’t battle. Her arms and legs became too heavy to move.
Her attacker got up off of her, deciding she was no longer a threat.
“All right,” he said. “Let’s get her in the van.”
He grabbed her roughly and slung her over his shoulder. She tried to lift her head, but her neck muscles wouldn’t cooperate. Whatever had been in the syringe muted her sense of fear. She no longer cared she was taken from her bed.
It was just before she blacked out that she saw a third man in her bedroom, near the closet. Her head swung like a rag doll as her captor made an abrupt turn toward the bedroom door, but even looking at the world from upside down, she couldn’t miss him.
He was transparent.
“Wow,” she whispered, spotting her own shadowed reflection in her closet mirror, visible right through his body.
His presence suddenly caused the room to grow brighter. She had the wild notion he gathered the shadows from the darkest corners of the room to create a body for himself, while his skin flared with golden light, and he became more substantial by the second. He materialized his way into the room. It made no sense, but that was precisely what she saw.
Odder still, neither of the other men in the room reacted to the brilliant, rich light he gave off. He towered over them, yet they appeared not to notice he was there. Powerfully built, he was naked to the waist, barefoot and clothed only in a well-worn pair of jeans. Gradually his face and body defined themselves until she could almost make out the line of a strong, knife-edge jaw and the shimmer of moonlight haloing his black hair.
Fierce indigo eyes gazed directly into hers. A jolt of recognition raced through her.
Lara gasped in shock. She knew him. She was sure of it. An intense rush of déjà vu tingled down her spine. Who was he? How did she know him? Wait…did she know him, really?
Drugs, Lara. This isn’t real. He’s not real. You’re imagining him.
Blue eyes held her attention ruthlessly.
Hold on! Don’t let go, he spoke.
But it wasn’t speech. She heard his words in her mind!
I need you to stay conscious.
“Who are you?” she whispered, her voice slurring.
“The ones who own you,” said the man carrying her.
Oblivious to the third man’s presence, her abductors thought she was talking to them.
I can’t get to you if you black out, the ghostly figure told her.
His immense shoulders tensed, bracing for action. His palms shoved outward at nothing, as if he pushed against an invisible barrier, leaned into it with everything he had, and was inexplicably held back.
Stay with me! Stay awake!


  1. Where did you get the idea for the novel?

It came to me by thinking about all the possible psychic gifts a paranormal hero and heroine might have. Telepathy, psychometry, clairvoyance, precognition, mediumship, even dowsing. I liked the idea of out-of-body experiences, but asked myself, what if you could take your body with you? What if you could transport a second, real live copy of yourself wherever you wanted to go? Be in two places at once? And what if there was an entire secret society of people with this gift? Just think what you could do with that ability? And what others might fear you would do with it? Which sets up the conflict between The Dreamrunners Society and the quazi-CIA type organization known as The Greys, in the novel.

  1. Your title. Who came up with it? Did you ever change your title?

I decided on the title, DANGEROUS DREAMS. Since the series is about The Dreamrunner’s Society, I wanted to choose titles that contain some variation of the word dream. For instance, the next book in the series is called DREAMING FOR THE DEAD. I’m in the middle of writing that one and having a lot of fun with it, because the heroine is literally dreaming for dead victims who can’t speak for themselves.

  1. Which came first, the title or the novel? 

Actually a short story version of the novel, titled IN HER DREAMS, came first. I wrote it as a submission to a contest being run by Harlequin. The short story didn’t sell to them, so I took the premise and the main characters and used them as the start of a new novel. They provided the inspiration, but so much was expanded, rewritten and added on to the short story that I felt the finished novel deserved a new title.

  1. Since becoming a writer, what’s the most exciting thing to ever happen to you?

Every time I write the last word of a story, and mentally add “The End,” is a serious thrill for me. Being able to say, “I finished that. I wrote that.” Even if the book is never sold or gets awful reviews, I did it. I didn’t give up in the middle. I accomplished something.

  1. What book are you currently reading or what was the last book you read?

This week I’m digging into The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I saw the movie with Daniel Craig. Now I want to read the book. I also just finished and reviewed The Outlaw of Cedar Ridge by my friend Lori Connelly.

  1. What was your first book that you ever wrote (very first one you wrote, not published)?

A really, really horrible attempt at a science fiction novel that never found an ending. That’s if you don’t first count my stories and drawings when I was in the second grade, which I mashed together into a book.

  1. What is your writing process?

I sit down with my laptop and start banging out the story. I try not to be too critical with my first draft. The most important thing is to get the words on the screen. In fact, I don’t even read over any part of a novel until I’ve typed that last page. Most of the time that strategy works well, but, um, there have been times when I’ve forgotten about secondary characters in the first half of the story and left them hanging in the second. Once I found I’d changed the spelling of the main character’s name during the course of the novel and didn’t even notice. Of course, that’s what the editing phase is for.

  1. Who are your favorite authors of all time?

Jane Austen, Ian Fleming, C.S. Lewis, Robert Parker, Andre Norton, Charlotte Brontë.

  1. At a book signing, do you just sign your name or do you write a note? How do you come up with stuff to say? 

I’m still looking forward to my first book signing, but I’m sure I’ll be extremely nervous, and worried about how exactly to sign a book. I figure it’s sort of like when you have to think of something brilliant to sign in a greeting card. You love sending the card, but what to say?

  1. What is something people would be surprised to know about you?

I know how to dismantle a computer. Putting it back together is another matter, but I’m really good at taking things apart.

  1. How do you react to a bad review?

It hurts, and it will sit with me for a day while I try to figure out if what the person has written is useful, or if it’s just a matter of their opinion clashing with what I wanted to achieve as a writer. Eventually, though, you have to tell yourself to shrug it off and move on. Otherwise you’ll freeze and never write again.

  1. How did you celebrate the sale of your first book?

By jumping up an down like a demented kangaroo, of course. Followed by a celebratory meal at a local restaurant, during which I didn’t taste a thing of what I ate.

Thank you, Alisia! I appreciate the welcome and chance to talk about my books. J

About the Author:
Aileen Harkwood is a die hard fan of the mysteries, thrills and romances life has to offer and has wanted to write her own since she penned her first, safely-hidden-away-in-a-drawer-never-to-see-the-light-of-day novel in high school. She has a B.A. in Creative Writing, and resides in the Southern Rockies of the United States with her family, a Labrador with an extensive chew stick collection, and two cats named after birds.

Twitter: @AileenHarkwood

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1 comment:

  1. My thanks for your generous offer to host a stop on the tour, Alisia. Thanks also for asking about the writing process. It was fun discussing it! :-D