A Wicked Welcome to Nancy Gardner! **plus a giveaway**

I am SO THRILLED to welcome Nancy Gardner to the blog. Nancy and I have known each other for years–we served on the board of the New England chapter of SinC, always saw each other at meetings and Crime Bake, you know how it goes. I was delighted to see that her debut novel, Dream Stalker, comes out today, and invited her on the blog so that the Wickeds can help her celebrate.

Here’s a description of the book:

Can you uncover evil in another’s dreams? You can if you were born with the birthmark of a dream-walker. Lily Scott, a modern Salem witch, was born with this mark like the line of maternal ancestors that came before her. But Lily’s first adolescent attempt at dream-walking ended in disaster.

Now, decades later, her world explodes. Her husband is dead. Her daughter faces prison for the murder of a local witch. Her estranged sister, a Roman Catholic nun, struggles to protect the band of aging homeless women in her care. Lily must decide. Lily must decide: tap into her power to search for a killer or let her fear of the Dream Stalker hold her back?

Julie: Welcome to the Wickeds, and congratulations! Nancy, your sleuth, Lily Scott, is a modern Salem witch who must use her power to walk into other people’s dreams to save her daughter from being wrongfully jailed for murder. Here’s a link to the book trailer:

Book trailer for DREAM STALKER

 How did you come up with the idea for a sleuth who walks into dreams to solve crime?

Nancy: Dreams have always intrigued me from the time I was six and dreamed the Lone Ranger and Mickey Mouse took me horse-back riding on the Lone Ranger’s trusty white stallion, Silver.

Nowadays, I pay attention to dreams because they often explore hidden feelings about issues going on in my waking life. For instance, during Covid-lockdown I had a nightmare where enemy soldiers where hunting down people on the streets and I was trying to hide from them.

As much as my own dream life intrigues me, I’m more intrigued by those who’ve had dreams that portend future events. Personally, I’ve never had such a dream, but recently I asked my blog subscribers if they or someone they knew had ever had one. Of the twenty people who responded, twelve responded yes and described dreams that most often portended family tragedy, though one lucky dreamer got introductions to people who would join her family at a future date.

Though my interest in dreams started when I was six, it was a decade ago when that interest morphed into the kernel of an idea—a sleuth with the power to dream-walk. It took a number of false starts before I was finally able to nail down the details the dream-walking world.

Where did Lily get her magical dream-walking power?

Lily comes from a long maternal line of Scottish witches who were born with a firefly-shaped birthmark signaling they’d inherited the power to dream-walk in the cause of justice. Lily’s grandmother was a dream-walker, and planned to train Lily when she was old enough. Unfortunately, Lily’s grandmother died before Lily could be prepared. Then the ancestral book that guides future dream-walkers was lost, leaving Lily fearful of using her power.

I love the ancestral lineage that’s at play. Tell us about Lily’s imagined dream world.

The dream world through which Lily must travel is called Shadow Land. When she steps into it, she finds a landscape filled with rust-red sandstone peaks that are honeycombed with dream-caves in an ever-unfolding universe of sleeping dreamers.

Sleeping dreamers–what an image. You mentioned that Lily is afraid of using her power? Why?

When Lily was twelve, she went against her grandmother’s wishes and dream-walked in order to help her best friend. The dream-walk ended badly, and Lily nearly lost her life when she was grabbed by the dark presence, the Stalker, who guards dreams against intruders. From that experience she decided that, when she dug into other people’s secrets, she risked bringing harm to those she loves.

What a world you’ve created, Nancy! Congratulations again. Readers, she’d love your comments on your dream life. Have you had notable dreams or nightmares or even dreams that told you about something that happened in the future? Commenters will be entered to win a copy of Dream Stalker. The U.S. winner can choose between the e-book or paperback version.


Nancy Gardner in Salem, Massachusetts

Nancy Gardner writes cozy mysteries with a paranormal twist. The first novel in her new series, Dream Stalker, tells the story of Lily Scott, a contemporary Salem witch who walks into people’s dreams to fight crime. One reviewer called it a gripping tale of witchcraft, family loyalties, and the cost of seeking justice.

40 Thoughts

  1. Welcome, Nancy, and many congratulations. What a fascinating premise! I can’t wait to read the book.

    Dreams – so odd and so powerful.

    1. Thanks, Edith! You are right about the strange, honest nature of dreams. Awake or asleep, I’m thrilled to finally reunite with SinC sisters 🙏

  2. Thanks, Edith! Your right about the strange, powerful nature of dreams. Where I’m awake or asleep, I’m thrilled to reconnect with my SinC sisters. 🙏

    1. I meant to say “Whether I’m awake or asleep….” Was I sleeping when I wrote that reply? 🙂

  3. What a fascinating premise! Welcome and congratulations on the book. I dreamed what my daughter looked like while I was pregnant. In the dream she was about two years old and had blond, curly hair. I told her it was too soon and that she had to go back. We’re brunettes on both sides of the family, but my daughter looked just like that dream image when she was two.

    1. Oh, Sherry, I love your dream story. A while back I did a paranormal survey for my blog and one person spoke of meeting people who would come into the family later. Thanks!

  4. WOW! “Dream Stalker” sounds amazing. Loved the trailer and can’t wait for the opportunity to read the book.

    My Mom was the one that had dreams that seemed to see into the future. There were several times she would talk about a dream (some happy and some worrisome) and a short time it would come to light that they were accurate. When young, I was always glad when the dreams weren’t about me. I evidently didn’t inherit that trait.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

    1. Hi Kay. Great story. Did you know that Mark Twain had prophetic dreams? I’d be scared to have a mom who had a prophetic dream about me. Unless it predicted something wonderful:)

  5. Sometimes I have very vivid dreams and things will happen in my waking life where I get those “deja vu” moments that I’m recalling from my dreams. Nothing particularly eerie or bizarre, it’s just that kinda tingly feeling. Your book sounds like a really good read to me, I love the characters already! I have some Scottish in me, I’d like to read about how that heritage affects them in today’s world!

    1. Hi Kathy. I don’t have psychic dreams, but some of my dreams leave me frightened while some leave me very calm and happy. BTW, I got the chance to visit the Isle of Skye with a granddaughter a few years ago. It was an amazing trip!

  6. Congratulations on the book! Every so often, I’m treated to a flying dream. It’s rough when I’m close to the ground and struggling, but sometimes I can leap into the sky and fly. Those are the best!

    1. My husband has flying dreams. I’m jealous of you both. It must be so freeing, Hollie 🙂

    1. Thanks, Sandy. An idea that took me ten years to clarify–and I’m delving deeper for book 2 🙂

  7. When I was young I had a recurring nightmare that had me wake up screaming, but I could never remember what it was about. It was a relief to outgrow that part of my life! The book sounds wonderful.

    1. Hi Judith, my son had night terrors when he was young. I bet he’s glad he’s outgrown them, too! Thanks for the comment 😉

  8. Wow, great premise, Nancy. I love the idea of walking into a dream, but personally, I’d begin with my own and consider that to be scary enough! I have had some pretty strange ones, including one last night that woke me at about 5:00 am, but I don’t remember thing one about it right now. Is your mystery set in Salem, MA? Will I recognize the locations? We visit Salem a few times a year because our kids are near-by.
    Best of luck with your new series. I am very excited that I can actually begin to read a series with book one and not be playing catch-up, as I usually am with other cozies.

    1. Hi judygsinger. You’ve got a point about understanding our own dreams! I have a favorite book that helps me figure out mine. It’s called Dream On It. As to Dream Stalker, yes, it’s set in Salem. The witch in the photo with me is on Derby Street and figures in the book. I think you’ll recognize Salem. 🙂

  9. The reviewer comment about “the cost of seeking justice” speaks to me. The high cost of justice is a very real outcome for trying to do good. The dream world also resonates with me as I have always had dreams, sometimes in technicolor, but more often in black and white. Some dreams have hinted at outcomes that actually occurred and so I am not skeptical about dreams at all. Best of luck with your debut novel and hopefully more to come.

    1. Hi Judy, Salem is an interesting place to explore issues of justice, given the injustice of the Salem Witch Trials. Thanks for your good wishes! 🙂

  10. Welcome to the Wickeds, Nancy! And congratulations on the book.

    Like Kathy, above, I don’t have prophetic dreams, but I often have moments of deja vu when I think, “Wait, did I dream this?”

  11. I have not had any specific dreams but more than once I have have had this feeling that we shouldn’t go somewhere or do something we had planned to do. I remember once we didn’t go only to see there was a terrible accident on the highway and we most likely would have been there at that time.
    I really want to read your book and of course leave a review. It sounds really good.

  12. Congratulations on your book birthday! What an interesting premise.

    I have had prophetic dreams. They are typically easy to distinguish from garden variety dreams although I couldn’t say why – something about them. When I was in college, my psy prof suggested keeping a notebook at the bedside and training yourself to semi-waken after a dream to write down the contents. I did that for a while and discovered two things – boy meets girl is not unique and my semi-awake handwriting is even worse than my fully awake handwriting!

    1. Wow, Kait. I thought I was the only one to keep a dream journal–though I’ve been spotty in following through lately! Thanks! 🙂

  13. Congratulations on your new release, Nancy. Sounds like an intriguing book. Dreams fascinate me, mainly because I very rarely remember my dreams. If I wake up after a dream, I always tell myself that I’ll think about it when I wake up. By that time I have no clue what that dream was about.

    1. I understand the dilemma, Dianne. I’ve had plenty of those lost dreams myself. Some folks keep an audio recorder close to capture them. Too much work for my taste. 🙂

  14. Oddly enough, I’ve had a few occurrences. The biggest one was my grandmother ‘coming to me’ in a dream telling me “He was just too sick- he would never make it. He’s too sick.” She was talking about the then very recent miscarriage my one dear cousin had. We knew she miscarried, but I hadn’t spoken to her yet. I told her what our grandmother said, and there was dead silence. She hadn’t known the gender until she lost the baby. So therefore we couldn’t possibly know the gender. Our grandmother was right. It was a he. Chills, just chills! We both fell apart after she told me Gram was, in fact, right.

    1. Thank you for that wonderful story, Tracy! Stories like that are why I’m fascinated by dreams. 🙂

  15. Congratulations on your new book Release! Your book sounds very intriguing and I love the book cover, especially because of the blue, my favorite color is blue. I used to have a dream of me just falling, falling from way up high, I never landed on anything I just kept on falling. I haven’t had it for a long time though . Have a Great week and stay safe. I really like the book trailer.

    1. Thank you so much, Alicia. I’ve had that falling dream, too. It’s no fun! I’m glad you enjoyed the book trailer! Have a terrific day!

  16. I retired after 30 years as a special ed. teacher. I tend to gave school related dreams!

  17. Hi Linda, teaching was one of several of my careers, so I understand those school dreams. The worst dream is that I’m late and my class has been left alone. Have a terrific day!

  18. I don’t have psychic dreams but I do believe that they can happen. I have heard to many instances of it happening for it not to be true.

    1. Hi Cheri,

      I’m a believer, too, even though I haven’t had a psychic dream. I also believe that there’s a lot we don’t know about the capabilities of the human mind. A while back I interviewed the author of a nonfiction book called The Scientist and the Psychic: A Son’s Exploration of His Mother’s Gift by Christian Smith, PhD. An interesting book about growing up as the son of one of Canada’s most famous psychics. He has done extensive research on paranormal abilities. I recommend it to anyone interested in the subject.

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