Thursday, December 29, 2011

My Top Reads of 2011

Seeing as how the 2011 Top Read lists are popping up around the blogosphere, I have decided to offer one of my own. This year, I set a goal to read 60 books, and have succeeded in that goal. In looking at the books I've read this year, it appears not many were published in 2011. There are a few late 2010s, yes, and I know some bloggers will include those, but I would prefer to reveal a true 2011 Best Reads.

I should warn you, it's rare that a book will make me go ZOMGWTFBBQFDIC mustmakebabieswithit. It didn't really happen this year, but there are a few books below I would recommend. I tend to read a lot of non-fiction, which is why the short list is NF heavy.

Good Rockin' Tonight: Sun Records and the Birth of Rock and Roll by Colin Escott and Martin Hawkins - This is actually a revised edition, put out in 2011. It was new to me, though, and as I have an interest in rock music history I thought Rockin' would appeal. Indeed, it's a thorough and entertaining history of Sun Records and their many imitators in the days of jazz and rockabilly, and the beginnings of rock and roll. Read my complete review here.

The Other Life by Ellen Meister - This came recommended by a friend, who is a friend of the author. If you're into magic realism, you might find this one interesting. It's similar to the story in Sliding Doors, only the main character knows there is a parallel universe and she can jump from one life to the next at various times. Trippy.

Shockaholic by Carrie Fisher - I will read anything Carrie writes, I call her an influence. Shockaholic is a slim book, but I think it's better than Wishful Drinking. I think this book is more cohesive and the stories interest me more because I was familiar with much of the territory covered in Drinking. If you want a good companion to this book, rent her HBO special.

My Lucky Life in and Out of Show Business by Dick Van Dyke - We all love Betty White, yes, but who doesn't love some Dick? (sorry) I suppose I am a bit old school, I love the classic shows like DVD's first series, and the mystery lover in me got caught up in Diagnosis Murder - I was probably their youngest viewer. Therefore, it's natural I'd want to read Dick's memoirs. I will say, though, you would expect a guy who will only make movies his children/grandchildren could watch couldn't possibly reveal any skeletons, but you'll be surprised here. It reads as a rather honest story.

Update on January-February Guest Blogging

December was busy blog-wise, but I wanted to remind everybody of what I have going on early next year. Some things happen here, others elsewhere. I hope through December I took care of getting everybody's prizes sent out. Will have to check as I've just come back from vacation.

1/4/12 - Come back here for a rockin' New Year's Blog Hop stop.

1/7/12 through 1/21/12 is the 2012 Lesbian Fiction Appreciation Event. I have contributed a post to the party, but I'm not sure when it goes up. You should visit every day, though.

1/30/12 - I am a guest authors at Guys Like Romance, Too!

2/13 - 2/17/12 - The ODD Tour, promoting my upcoming M/M contemporary.

February 13: From Me to You ... Video, Photography, & Book Reviews
February 14: Erotica For All
February 15: Carrie Ann Ryan's Blog
February 16: Roz Lee
February 17: Immortality and Beyond
2/25/12 - I'll be a guest at Rawiya's blog.

I think that's everybody. See you around!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A Toast to Champagne

If you hang around here, you know that Hubby and I own a fair share of wine. Truth be told, we could open a wine shop with our stash, but right now we're on the hunt for a nice bottle of bubbly for New Year's. Wine.com is a good place to try (and they have some Virginia stuff) if you're looking. In the meantime, here's a bit of champagne history to go with that toast:

wine.com infographic
Brought To By Wine.com, Purveyors of Fine Wine and Champagne

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Guest Blog - Minnette Meador

Me Want Food welcomes guest blogger Minnette Meador! Please comment on today's post to be entered in her daily and overall blog tour drawings.

Today's blog prize is: a box of See's truffles! Mmmm.

Minnette will also be giving away a small Kindle ($79) plus a Portland Tote filled with goodies to one randomly drawn commenter for the entire blog tour. She will do the drawing herself for the daily winners. The Kindle and tote bag are limited to US and Canada only; if you're an international winner, an Amazon GC will be substituted.

PLEASE NOTE: Any reader who sends their name and address to Minnette will be sent a stack of signed swag. Just drop her a note at : mmeador at minnettemeador dot com.


Thanks for stopping to chat! Please tell us a bit about your latest release, or what's coming up.

Thanks so much for inviting me over today! What a fabulous blog…

The Belle Stalker is now available at Amazon on their Kindle, Barnes & Noble on their Nook, and all other eBook formats. Here’s a blurb:

THE BELLE STALKER
an urban fantasy thriller
by Minnette Meador

For a year, Belle Stark has struggled to conquer fears plaguing her since being attacked by a maniac who continues to roam free and the murder of her father. And she nearly succeeds, until she discovers her lover's murdered body spread over the furniture, making Belle a prime suspect. Certain her attacker is to blame, she seeks help from her ex-husband, homicide detective Mike Cranston, the one person she swore she would never let back into her life, or heart. In their hunt for answers, the two uncover more than a lunatic: a supernatural underworld hidden beneath the tall skyscrapers of the city and a secret that could kill them both. Faced with a terrible choice, Belle surrenders herself to the hands of a monster and Mike must solve an ancient mystery before it's too late to save her...

Of your backlist/WIPs, which would you say was the easiest to write? The most challenging? Why?

I think that in a lot of ways, The Gladiator Prince was the easiest to write. The story line was very solid for me from the beginning. The hardest one to write was The Edge of Honor. It was my very first sequel and I had to do a lot of research and planning for it. I loved the way it turned out, but there was a ton of time that went into this book.

Do you own an e-reader, or maybe two? How do you like it?

I own several computer e-readers, but I LOVE my Kindle. I got it for Christmas last year and I already have around 100 books on it. I still read paperbacks, but the Kindle makes it so easy to read plus I listen to music on it at the same time. I think that’s why I like to give these as prizes. I think everyone should have one.

What do you have planned writing wise for the rest of the year?

I have three books coming out next year; Haunted Hearts (book II in the Ghost series); The Egyptian Pirate (book IV in the Centurion series); and Phantom Hearts (book III in the Ghost Series. For blurbs visit: http://minnettemeador.blogspot.com/p/books-to-come.html - In addition, I’m working on a sci-fi, a ghost story, and another paranormal. I’m an addict… what can I say?

Do you have a blog/Yahoo group for readers to stay updated on your works?

My website is being redesigned as we speak, so I’ve been using my blog exclusively for update: http://minnettemeador.blogspot.com – There are lots of posts about books, guest authors, and even some surprises. Once this blog it over, I’m actually going to be doing a bit of an on-line autobiography. Never done that before, but it should be fun!

Desert Island quiz: you can only bring one album, one DVD set for your favorite TV show, and one movie. What are they?

CD: Mixed recording of Celtic Woman, Josh Groban, Imogene Heap, and Technoshark
DVD Set: Firefly
Movie: Constantine

What was the last book that you read? What did you think?

I just finished The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Steig Larsson. The first 100 pages go into a LOT of back-story, so it was a little hard to get into at first, but his writing is good enough that it keeps your interest, then BANG! The book takes off. It is a wonderful story in its own right, but Salander is an amazing character and very original. The combination of the two main characters is brilliant, though the end was not very satisfying… though I suspect it translates into the next book. All in all an excellent read and I can’t wait to see the movie. Hope they get it right...


Buy the Book

Audio Excerpt
Written Excerpt
Blog URL

RESPLENDENCE PUBLISHING (all eFormats except Kindle & Nook)

AMAZON DIRECT LINK

BARNES & NOBLE DIRECT (Nook)

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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Immoral Views: an Erotic Anthology


Me Want Food is happy to help fellow erotic authors promote their latest release! Check out Immoral Views!

Immoral Views is a deliciously dissolute anthology of voyeurism!

Sweetmeats Press proudly presents FIVE titillating tales from erotica's sultriest mistresses!

In THE CIRCUS, the line is blurred between spectator and performer in a theatre of pleasure and pain!

Then, adventurous Izzy searches two continents for her perfectly perverted Prince Charming in INSIDE LOOKING OUT.

In ALLOTTED VIEWS a nosey gardener is treated to a raunchy ritual through her bedroom window.

PAINTED PUSSYCAT sees an innocent student welcomed into the Circle of Ink where tattoos, bondage and exhibitionism are all part of her initiation.

And finally, a young policeman risks his reputation and his job for the adrenaline rush of sex alfresco in CAUGHT IN THE ACT!

It may not be polite to stare.....but it's certainly a lot of fun. Slip inside these pages to celebrate your secret voyeur, and it will be our perverse pleasure to share our Immoral Views with you!

Edited by Kojo Black, and containing stories from Kay Jaybee, Lexie Bay, K D Grace, Rebecca Bond and Lucy Felthouse. Illustrations by Florian Meacci are only available in paperback editions, and eBook edition from Waterstone's.

Available from: 

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Lost

This guest post from Hong Alexander

I have been so sad since one of my favorite shows, Lost, went off the air. I used to watch it every week on our Expert Satellite. A group of friends would come to my house and we would make some food, chat and watch all the new episodes. Of course, once the episode comes on, there is not much talking. We wanted to make sure we heard everything that happened. We would talk a bit when the commercials came on. Every episode there more questions were proposed than answered. That can be frustrated sometimes, but for us, it was really enjoyable. It sounds silly, but it was really cool to watch every season that way. Every week, someone would make a different dish and bring it for all of us to share. Since then, we all have hung out, but we miss the show! It was an excuse to get together, but it was also just a great show. For the finale, we actually went to a local theater and watched it on the big screen. That may have been the highlight of all the seasons we watched.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Welcome to the Jingle Bell Hop!


If you didn't get here through the Jingle Bell Blog Hop site, CLICK HERE for the list!

Thanks for stopping by! Leave your comment below for your chance to win a Kindle Fire for the whole blog hop, plus a $10 GC from All Romance eBooks from me!

If you've come this way via the Jingle Bell Hop, welcome! Hope you've had enjoyable hop experience so far. I know many of the authors are doing stories related to the 12 Days of Christmas, but I'm taking a different tack. Normally, I'd jump at the chance, but having recently finished NaNoWrimo wiped me out. So, I am in recovery mode right now, self-medicating with chocolate.

Yes, what's Christmas without chocolate? For me, it's not just a snack - it's a way of life. I try to have just a little bit a day, particularly the dark variety because it's supposed to be better for you. If anybody catches me with a Hershey's Special Dark, I can simply explain that I'm getting a dose of antioxidants. It's not a complete lie.

If I had to choose my all-time chocolate Top Ten, it wouldn't take long to do. There are so many wonderful chocolatiers out there, and if you're in the mood for something artisan and unique I heartily suggest the following (in no particular order):

Patric Chocolate - Made in the St. Louis area, a one-man operation basically. All the chocolate is single-origin and tastes clean. Amazing stuff!

Vosges - They make the famous Bacon Bar. Yes, you have to try it to believe it. They excel in mixing the sweet and savory.

Waialua Estate - Chocolate grown in Hawaii on the Dole plantation. You can actually taste notes of pineapple in it!

Moonstruck - Organic producer out of Oregon. Creamy milk bars and a spicy cayenne bar that I adore.

Green and Blacks - This is a more common organic brand. I like the dark varieties and the ginger.

Ritter Sport - Oh, those thick waffle-shaped squares! I love the marizpan bar and the one with corn flakes in it.

Lake Champlain - This chocolatier mainly does filled bars. There is a nice rum caramel one I get once in a full moon.

Dagoba - Dagoba bars are fairly common at health and gourmet stores. There is a nice variety everything from chai to lavender.

Equal Exchange - I love their darks, very rich and smooth.

Chocopologie - Burnt. Caramel. With. Hawaiian. Sea. Salt. That is all.

So that should get me through New Year's. Heh. What's your favorite?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Blog Hopping for the Holidays

A while back I mentioned that I intended to cut back on book events and fairs - not because I don't enjoy doing them, but the expense is too much to handle at present. Plus, I have three big trips planned for 2012 (Florida, Europe, and California), so I need to save my pennies. Therefore, I'm making up for it by embarking on a number of blog hops and tours through the rest of the year.

So if you want to win some free books and other cool prizes, save the following dates. Some events happen here, others elsewhere.

12/9 - I'm participating in the JustRomance.Me Jingle Bell Blog Hop. Stop by and comment for some cool prizes!

12/18 - I'll be a guest author posting on Cassandra Carr's Facebook page for the day.

12/19 - 23 TRS Parties is having their annual Christmas blowout and I'll be there talking about Christmas and new releases.

12/21 @ 2PM - Long and Short Reviews is doing a Stuff Your Stocking day and I have a guest post!

1/4/12 - Come back here for a rockin' New Year's Blog Hop stop.

1/30/12 - I am a guest authors at Guys Like Romance, Too!

2/13 - 2/17/12 - The ODD Tour, promoting my upcoming M/M contemporary.

February 13: From Me to You ... Video, Photography, & Book Reviews
February 14: Erotica For All
February 15: Carrie Ann Ryan's Blog
February 16: Roz Lee
February 17: Immortality and Beyond
2/25/12 - I'll be a guest at Rawiya's blog.

I think that's everybody. See you around!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Here We Go a Caroling

We have one radio station in town that's played nothing but Christmas music, since well before Thanksgiving. I do enjoy the occasional holiday ditty, though I find some songs are more fun, and just plain weirder, than others. Already I've had to explain to the little one that it's not Jason Segel singing the 12 Days of Christmas with the Muppets:


...and now the just plain weird.


Saturday, December 3, 2011

Guest Blog - Christine Young

Me Want Food welcomes Christine Young! Christine is giving away the following prizes to readers who comment on her blog tour:

* a $50.00 Amazon GC to one randomly drawn commenter for the blog tour.
* a Clan MacPherson book mark awarded at each stop to one randomly drawn commenter.
* Antique Gold Double Thistle Broche for the blog host with the most comments (excluding Christine's and their own).

Thanks for stopping to chat! Please tell us a bit about your latest release, or what's coming up.

Highland Honor is the first in a three part series about the McPherson clan. The first book is all about Collin "Hawke" McPherson. Hawke falls in love with the daughter of his hated enemy, Lord James Whitcomb. He has sought revenge against this man for years and now he has the chance, but…Well, a man can really find vengeance with the woman he is falling in love with. So he vows to protect her from all harm, including her evil stepbrother. He discovers along the way this is a bigger challenge than he could have ever imagined.This book will be followed by: Highland Magic and Highland Song.

What is a day in your writing life like? Do you have a set schedule?

I have no set schedule. I am a morning person and if I'm going to get anything accomplished it has to happen before noon.

Do you consider yourself a plotter or a pantser? Or maybe both?

I used to consider myself a panster but now I'm a bit of both. I do extensive characterization and I plot every scene meticulously. However sometimes the characters take over and write their own version as they are doing now in my April Fools anthology.

Do you prefer to write one specific genre, or are you a bit all over the map? What is your favorite genre to write and why?

I am definitely all over the map. My first published books were Western Historical Romances but since then I embarked on my Highland series as well as starting a Regency series. My favorite genre is whatever I'm working on at the moment.

Of your backlist/WIPs, which would you say was the easiest to write? The most challenging? Why?

Safari Moon was definitely the easiest to write. It is my only contemporary romance. I didn't have to worry about idioms that weren't used at the time and I didn't have to do as much research.
The Regency books are the most challenging. There are so many rules of etiquette, places where only certain people could go and the evil trenches below the streets of London where all sorts of things went on. An interesting time period and one with so many possibilities.

Do you own an e-reader, or maybe two? How do you like it?

I have had a kindle for almost a year now. I love it. I can stick it in my purse and I have as many books to read as I want. The e-reader is great for traveling.

What do you have planned writing wise for the rest of the year?

I have to finish my April Fools Anthology. I have a chapter and a half left so should finish by the end of November. After that I plan on finishing my Regency series.

Do you have a blog/Yahoo group for readers to stay updated on your works?

I actually have 3 blogs, 2 of which I keep updated. The third blog was started to promote my regency series but I haven't been writing on that one. I keep getting sidetracked.

They are:

My personal blog: http://christineyoung-romancewriter.blogspot.com

One I share with three other writers: http://www.roguesangels.blogspot.com

The blog for my regency series: http://aidansmisadventures.blogspot.com

What was the last book that you read? What did you think?

At the moment I am reading A Game of Thrones: A Song of Fire and Ice by George R.R. Martin. The book is different from what I usually read but very interesting. The writing style is unique and I have learned how POV cannot only create intensity of a story but can sway a readers mind to differing opinions about characters.

Who are your favorite authors in your primary genre?

The first historical romance I ever read was given to me by my-mother-in-law. It was written by Heather Graham. I will always be a fan of hers.

~*~

Author Bio: Born in Medford, Oregon, novelist Christine Young has lived in Oregon all of her life. After graduating from Oregon State University with a BS in science, she spent another year at Southern Oregon State University working on her teaching certificate, and a few years later received her Master's degree in secondary education and counseling. Now the long, hot days of summer provide the perfect setting for creating romance. She sold her first book, Dakota's Bride, the summer of 1998 and her second book, My Angel to Kensington. She is the author of 10 published romance books and 2 novellas. Christine is a retired high school math teacher. Her teaching and writing careers have intertwined with raising three children. Christine's newest venture is the creation of Rogue Phoenix Press. Christine is the founder, editor and co-owner with her husband. They live in Salem, Oregon.

About the Book

Willfully stubborn, innocently courageous, Callie Whitcomb braves a journey through the treacherous highlands to the MacPherson castle. Callie flees from an unwanted marriage as well as her ruthless half brother. Naively she believes Colin MacPherson, the head of the clan, is loyal to her father and will give her sanctuary, protecting her from the vile plans that have been made for her.
As hard and as unyielding as the winter storms that sweep through the countryside, Colin is irresistibly drawn to the impetuous beauty who has magically appeared on his doorsteps. Despite his vows of revenge against her father, she stirs his passion as well as his sense of justice...but to love her would violate all his vows of revenge.

Excerpt

"You must learn not to shy away when I touch you." Once again, he spoke softly, his tone meant to seduce and conquer. Conquer. He wondered at that, openly marveled at the sweet possibility and the enduring promise.

"Lady Callie would not willingly surrender to anyone, least of all Colin MacPherson. No, now that she knew most of the story, she would fight him in her own way, subtly and artfully. She would flirt and dance attendance upon him when they were surrounded by people she needed to enchant, but when they were alone she would lift her chin and dismiss him silently.

He would never understand what motivated her.

All the loathing he felt for her - for her father and her family remained - still...

He picked up her hand in his and studied her long, delicate fingers. Hands that had never seen a day's hard work. Hands that had pursued the finer arts, stitchery perhaps. He knew so little about Callie Whitcomb and what he now planned would weld them together for eternity.

This could only result in heartache for both of them. And yet...

Her face now framed by his hands, he traced her jaw line, marveled at the softness.

"Hawke," she whispered his name and the sound was bittersweet.

"Nay, do not try to figure out why we have been thrust together. Do not try to understand what I am about to ask of you for you will not be able to make sense of that which I am about to tell you."

"I - " she began.

"Hush," he lowered his lips to hers, and brushed them softly with his own. He lingered upon the lush ripeness beneath his mouth, he feathered kisses - light kisses - where he would have liked to delve deeper and taste all that was Lady Callie Whitchomb.


Thursday, December 1, 2011

Guest Blog - Lori Toland

Me Want Food welcomes guest author Lori Toland! Lori is giving away a choice of a $25 GC to either Amazon, AllRomanceEbooks or Loose Id to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour, so be sure to comment on this post! To comment on other posts and increase your chances of winning, click here for other stops on Lori's tour.

Thanks for stopping to chat! Please tell us a bit about your latest release, or what's coming up.

Thanks for having me by! :)

I’m so excited for Soul Seduction to finally be out. Ashlee is a nurse by day and a demon slayer by night (hmm, like I’m a CEO by day and a demon slayer… I mean writer, by night) and fighting demons is at the top of her to-do list until she meets her sexy neighbor, Luke Byrne. Even though he is human, she can't stop dreaming about his buff body and sexy grin, until her dreams turn to nightmares.

Her world is turned upside down when Luke follows her one night but instead of being afraid, he is only more determined to stand beside her and fight. Ashlee knows she needs to keep her distance from Luke, not just to protect her virginity but her heart as well. But Luke may be the only one who can save her from the night, and her dreams.

Did you have to do a lot of research to complete this work?

I did research a lot of different things for this story. Some things I used from my experiences, like visiting Liverpool, England, which I highly recommend. My husband was born there, even though he grew up north of London. The upscale shopping in Southport is not to be missed but there is so much more to the city than most people think.

Most of my research was of the catacombs. Even though I don’t describe them too much, I had to map out where they were and how far they were from Ashlee’s flat. I also researched swords and weaponry demon slayers would have and what made their swords different from average, everyday swords.

What is a day in your writing life like? Do you have a set schedule?

Well, I work a day job as a CEO. Since I’m the owner as well, no one tells me I can’t take an hour off to write. Of course, this extends my schedule and makes a longer day so it’s a catch 22. But I usually get up, have a coffee while I read my e-mail. If no screaming emergencies, I tend to write. Then I have lunch, do errands and come back home. I often take my laptop with me so if I have a few minutes, I can stop at a coffee shop.

I get a couple days a week like this. The rest of the time I’m running around with my hair on fire, trying to take care of problems in the company, doing deliveries, meeting with my accountant. I could go on, but my professional life is kind of boring (that’s why my editor makes me cut those scenes when I wax poetic about business in my books).

Do you consider yourself a plotter or a pantser? Or maybe both?

I’m proud to be a plotser(a strange hybrid of both). I love plotting everything in my books but I know when to let the characters take over for me. I did that recently with The Long Con, my next book under contract from Loose Id. I knew there would be a happily ever after, even if it killed me, but I had no idea how I was going to get there. I really enjoyed the journey.

With Soul Seduction however, my characters stayed on my plot track pretty well. Except Luke ended up in glasses. *drool*

Do you prefer to write one specific genre, or are you a bit all over the map? What is your favorite genre to write and why?

I’ve been writing m/m contemporary since I started. I really enjoy that but I’ve kind of been bitten by the action bug. I love writing the adrenaline rush, where your heart is racing and the bad guys are chasing you and RUN RUN RUN!

Do you own an e-reader, or maybe two? How do you like it?

I love my e-readers. I’m a tech junkie so I tend to buy new and shiny gadgets. I have a Kindle DX. My husband loves that so he can read the papers from the UK, especially if there is a big scandal going on there. I also have an iPad and iPhone 4S with the Books app and Kindle app as well. I have an autoimmune disorder that attacks my joints so holding paper books is hard. I haven’t bought a paperback in two years (not counting freebies)

What do you have planned writing wise for the rest of the year?

Currently I’m working on my next release from Loose Id and my m/m fans will be happy to hear I’m returning back to the genre for this book. I’m also sketching out a sequel to Soul Seduction, where we return to Ashlee and Luke.

Last but definitely not the least, I’m also working on the Replacement Guitarist sequel and I’m planning a huge surprise. But I’m not telling you what it is. You’ll have to wait and see.

Do you have any social media profiles/pages where readers can follow you?

Absolutely! Stop by my website www.loritoland.com and check me out. I’m also loritoland on twitter and on Facebook www.facebook.com/lori.toland

Who are your favorite authors in your primary genre?

In the m/m genre, I adore Mary Calmes. She is one of my all-time favorite of any genre. Her characters are amazing and her plots even more so. And Amy Lane. No one does angst like her. I have to mentally prepare myself for her books but her writing is beautiful, like her one true love is the English language.

In the m/f genre, I love Richelle Mead, LJ Smith. I read The Vampire Diaries when they came out back in the early 90s. I also love Evangeline Anderson and Laurann Dohner is one helluva hot read! :)

Thanks for having me by! :)

About Lori

CEO by day, erotic romance writer by night, Lori Toland lives in Orlando where the summers are hot but the romance between her characters is even hotter. Writing since the tender age of 13, Lori somehow finds time to play video games and watch movies while taking care of her beloved cats and a husband who will forever be her hero.

http://loritoland.com/

http://loritoland.livejournal.com/

About the Book

Ashlee Bennett has her priorities straight. Fighting demons is at the top of the list until she meets her sexy neighbor, Luke Byrne. Even though he is human, she can't stop dreaming about his buff body and sexy grin, until her dreams turn to nightmares.

Her world is turned upside down when Luke follows her one night but instead of being afraid, he is only more determined to stand beside her and fight. Ashlee knows she needs to keep her distance from Luke, not just to protect her virginity but her heart as well. But Luke may be the only one who can save her from the night, and her dreams.