Monday, July 6, 2015


Our second submission for First Impressions this month comes to us from Stacie Dempsey. DREAMKATCHER is a YA novel.


Chapter One

I woke with a jolt of familiarity. There was a memory digging footholds into my brain trying to resurface. The imagined stench of a charred experiment gone wrong lingering in my nose. Behind my still closed eyes I can see the outline of the old brick laboratory, black against the waking sky, flames escaping through its windows and matching the sky’s intensity. My heart pounds as I try to make my way back in. Heat sears my cheeks just as tears come flooding down to cool them. Their trapped cries resonate in my ears as a lone thought repeats in my head… I have to save them.

This dream clings to my consciousness, hanging like a low fog. A fog that a thousand suns couldn’t lift. There’s only one way to rid these terrible thoughts from my mind, something I should have done last night. I reach for the BAND on my wrist, knowing what I will find before I see it there. Blank screen, battery dead.

As I stumble across the room, limbs still heavy with sleep, my body begins convulsing with sobs. Overwhelming pain takes over and threatens to pull me back into the abyss of depression. It’s as if each sob slices into my soul, fracturing it until I’m spread thin enough to be carried away by the morning breeze. Wrapping my arms around myself I attempt to pull the pieces of me back together long enough to reach the port.

Racing the last five feet to the wall, I hold my wrist against the port ready to evict the nightmare from my mind. The glass panel glows red, confirming it’s dead battery and my failure to sync. As the BAND charges the panel slowly changes from red to yellow and finally green. The sync begins and I can feel my thoughts flowing out of me like a stream. It’s as if a dam has been released and is washing away these painful memories that infest my sleep.

Four years later and still the same nightmare plagues my thoughts. The same feeling that I should have done more, I should have tried harder to get them out. The same feeling of guilt for having survived. 

This latest episode marks the second time this month I’ve forgotten to keep my BAND charged. Gram will be furious when she finds out. “Our BAND’s are meant to relieve the burden the day’s thoughts have on our soul. Without a proper sync each night we won’t be able to make it through the day”. It won’t be the first time I’ve received this lecture. Taking one last deep breath, I pull myself together and head downstairs to face Gram.


First, I find the BANDs absolutely fascinating. Those devices feel not far removed from our phones and other idevices. How many people "plug in" to the internet as the last thing they do before bed and the first thing they do before they get up? That said, there is a stigma about starting a novel with waking up from a dream. It's disorienting because the reader is trying to get a feel for the character and his or her reality. Dreams distort that reality, so the reader isn't getting a true picture at the start. Is there a different way to begin that tells us more about the BANDs?

Second, I have a couple of picky notes regarding tense and wording. The first two sentences are past tense, while the rest is in present tense. 

Also, "Racing the last five feet to the wall," is in contrast with the other physical descriptions of her since she seems incapable of running in the previous paragraph. 

Last, I love this line, "It’s as if each sob slices into my soul, fracturing it until I’m spread thin enough to be carried away by the morning breeze."

I think this a wonderful idea, and I'd love to read more of it. Thank you so much for sharing it with us. 

Make sure to check out Stacie's website at She is also on Facebook at And head over to both Mainewords and Dianne's blog to see what they thought of DREAMKATCHER.


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