Jagged Dreams

C.C. Saint-Clair

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Dear Reader,

Hi! I thought it might be kind of neat if I took the time to explain in an off-the-cuff post what this fifth novel, Jagged Dreams, is about. It goes like this: on the one hand, I’ve focused on the sensuality of lesbian love (always foremost in my mind) and, on the other, I’ve targeted homophobia and incest.

This having been said, the feedback I’ve been getting so far suggests that most readers still come away from Jagged Dreams thinking this novel is really about tender mind-wanderings, lustful love and the struggle of keeping one’s promises.

OK, so … beyond regularly reminding myself that the society in which I live is not as peachy-pink for everybody like the way it has finally evolved for me now that I am able to indulge my creativity from inside the emotionally safe life my partner affords me, I wanted to build in an extra layer, something extra such as violent homophobia – something that is very different from what I normally write about, namely the overwhelming rollercoaster-like, mind-blasting ‘thrill’ of being attracted to someone we know we cannot afford at the emotional level, for whatever reason.

The prologue focuses on the aggression perpetrated on Tamara sets the plot in motion.

Later, a couple of red-herrings – loose connections to the preceding novel, Risking-me, where Tamara is first introduced, in opposition to Alex, contending for Emilie’s affection – refresh the issue of domestic violence within the lesbian community, my community.

While tracking down the ‘bad guy’, the trick was not to get caught up into a genre switch and stray from my primary focus – lesbian romance that exposes the vulnerable often emotional side of real lesbians’ lives, warts and all, through painful introspection.

I’d be delighted to hear how this combo has worked for you, so don’t be shy. Make the most of free speech. Sooner or later I’ll get the message! Top Gay Love Story Books-cc-pinkwall

Keep safe out there in the moment that is under ‘your’ feet.

C.C.

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Part 1

Part 2

What people are saying about “Jagged Dreams

  1. Snap Review
    Tonie Morris

    I found Jagged Dreams interesting in many ways though I, initially, thought it odd that Saint-Clair should stray from what she had so far done so well, for us, readers of dyke romance.

    A sigh of relief. The moments of sexy romance are there, but for the first time, Saint-Clair has built the romance around a ‘Who dunnit’ hook.

    Social-realism here is gay bashing, the setting is here, in Briz, and Saint-Clair has tackled the topic in her usual gritty, sometimes confronting way, but I also just love the tender and totally sexy love-play between Tamara and Marielle.

    Perhaps, more importantly for women at large is the fact that it is these tender moments that truly empower Marielle and prime her to finally stand up to her father and reject his kinky behaviour.

    I also enjoyed the way the narrative slips in and out of present time as Tamara slips in and out of consciousness [hence the title].

    I read JD in the train during my daily commutes to Nerang and it certainly provided me with an escape from the monotony of it all. And I passed it on to my sister who says romance novels are boring. I’d like Saint-clair’s books to change her mind and i’m sure my sister will eventually thank me for it :/)

    Tonie Morris

  2. Mado’s Find- A Canadian Review
    mado

    though i’ve been reading the stuff on the forum for a few months already, the only reason I registered was to paste a review I’ve just found on saint-clair. it’s on her novel Jagged dreams and it’s in the april issue of Swerve magazine, which is a canadian publication.
    seeing as so many of you seem to be into her writing, i thought you might not come across it if i didn’t post it here. personally I haven’t read any of saint-clair’s stuff but i might hop on to amazon and see what’s there.
    nice talking to you.

    Straight-forward plot unleashes
    Author’s creativity By Marta Alphonso

    C.C. Saint-Clair • Jagged Dreams • Bookmakers Ink, 2003

    Surreal and poignant, Jagged Dreams delves inside the mind of Tamara, a 28-year-old lesbian suffering from a concussion after being mysteriously attacked outside her lover’s workplace one evening. This charming novel has the potential to be a corny, run-of-the-mill piece of work. All the elements are there: a mystery the main characters must solve, relationship woes, and hauntings from the past.

    However,thanks to C.C. Saint-Clair’s thorough writing style, the reader holds on until the very end, hoping the finish is worth the read.
    Little can be said to describe the storyline of the novel, as it only takes place over the course of about three days. Tamara is attacked, Tamara is in the hospital for a while, and then
    Tamara comes home. Fairly straightforward. However, the events that occur in Tamara’s head during her hospital stay are what truly give flavour to the novel.

    Past events in her life appear to be eerily connected to one another, and a general feeling of immense loss and sadness prevails.
    Tamara seems to blame herself for the death of her young cousin Jamie, as he continues to reappear in her dreams, terrorizing her sleeping mind.

    A sweetly delightful affair with the young daughter of a French vintner is even more ubiquitous during her fitful sleeps. Clearly the young woman, Marielle, was dearly loved by Tamara, but she was betrothed to a Frenchman that was to inherit her father’s vineyard.

    Marielle’s endearing nature has clung to Tamara since they were parted, and Tamara has always regarded her as the one that got away.

    Another important aspect of the novel is the interaction that takes place between the characters. Tamara is in a long-term relationship with Emilie, who are both close friends with Alex, Tamara’s ex-girlfriend.

    The large age gap is heavily explored as a driving force behind the lack of complete intimacy in Emilie and Tamara’s relationship.
    Emilie has difficulty trusting Tamara, and she finds solace in Alex’s wisdom, who is the same age as Emilie.

    How the characters relate to one another reveals their insecurities, such as Emilie’s doubts that she is too old
    for Tamara to truly love her, which displays the innermost thoughts and traits of their personalities.

    Though the novel can be unclear and difficult to follow at times, it is this very aspect that turns it into such a believable narration of the agony and confusion of someone suffering from a concussion. However, it finishes with a few loose ends that may leave the reader disappointed.

    Also, the storyline itself is quite unremarkable, and it reads like a cheesy mystery whodunit, but it is often from such simple plots that truly memorable novels are made.

    The most straightforward plots give authors the most room to express their creative genius.

    Although this novel may not be particularly extraordinary, it is able to provide a thought-provoking, entertaining read.

  3. Romance with Style and Substance
    Veronica Clayton

    Jagged Dreams targets two social evils, homophobia and incest, and though it is also about love and commitment, its greatest contribution lies in the intelligent and sensitive handling of the issue of abuse. In spite of its serious exposition of such topics, Jagged Dreams is also a sexy tale of lesbian lust and love. It is a romance novel tightly wrapped inside a ‘whodunnit’, a novel that offers something to everyone without weakening any of its parts.

    Sexual violence, emotional violence: for most of the thirty-odd hours since Tamara, a victim of a random attack, collapsed in the grounds of a deserted parking lot somewhere in an Australian city, her thoughts are a shaken and stirred cocktail of memories, stretched and distorted by the warped reality of dreams and nightmares.

    Yet, despite the dark thread of violence woven through the novel, one of its most lyrical moments occurs only hours after Tamara becomes the unwitting witness to the ugliness of sexual abuse.

    It is in the vineyards of Bordeaux – Marielle is eighteen and straight. Tamara, at twenty-four, is the older woman who, though she is terribly attracted to Marielle, understands that when the young woman eventually sneaks into her bed, snuggles against her and begins a dreamy exploration of her body, it is more an emotional connection Marielle is seeking than sexual gratification. Tamara intuitively recognises that Marielle’s fragile psyche might construe any overtly sexual response on her part as yet another act of physical domination.

    That night-time visit is a very touching, very tender moment because Tamara’s sensitivity is, ultimately, what brings Marielle not only to survive the ritual of incest her father has been subjecting her to but also to find the strength to finally break free of him.

    Jagged Dreams is a novel that brings hard-hitting issues to the romance genre without compromising it. Make no mistake, though it foregrounds violence, Jagged Dreams is really about love. And while real time is suspended for Tamara who drifts in and out of consciousness inside a hospital bed, the reader still has to work out whose act of violence has put her there and why.

    C.C. Saint-Clair writes with luminous language and creates remarkably visual scenes. The topic of violence perpetrated against women in general, but more particularly against a strong cast of endearing lesbian characters – that spans five novels – is visibly one that preoccupies this author. Thus, her portrayal is always compassionate and moving, hard-hitting yet dreamy. It is romance with bite and substance. And with a great deal of style, too.

    A genuinely great escape on rainy days.

    A seriously engaging read on sunny days.

  4. Jagged Dreams – Review Out In America
    Pam Harrison

    The passing months since my first book review and interview with sensual lesbian Aussie author C.C. Saint-Clair have seen a swelling tide of interest in this woman and her published work.

    C.C. has an ability to create remarkably visual scenes and a talent for digging gut-deep into the emotions of her reader no matter what topic she might happen to delve into.

    Jagged Dreams is such a book. The central character, Tamara, is savagely attacked in a parking lot and left for dead, later found by her lover, Emilie and taken to the hospital.

    Barely alive, fighting for consciousness, Tamara drifts in and out of reality into her dreams and memories of her past, vague glimpses of the attack in the parking lot, and that haunted summer in Bordeaux, France, where she first met and loved Marielle, a victim of incest.

    Called an “intelligent and sensitive handling of the issue of abuse,” Jagged Dreams deals with homophobia and incest, but it’s really about love and commitment. It’s also about lesbian love, lust and temptation.

    This is the first of C.C.’s novels in which she also packs a “whodunit” inside the subplot. What else works in this novel, as in most of her others, is the way C.C. juxtaposes wonderfully sexy and poetic moments like those of Tamara and Marielle in the vineyards of Bordeaux with vile abuses of her father. The tenderness, the resilience, the gentleness of same-sex love, friendship and comfort is the overriding theme in Jagged Dreams.

    C.C. had this to offer about the book: “My writing’s primary focus…(is) lesbian romance that exposes the vulnerable, often emotional, side of real lesbians’ lives, warts and all, through painful introspection.”

    This book has received attention from a number of women’s groups and gay/lesbian welfare associations extolling the touching sensitivity she has employed on her topics, giving further kudos to her tag of “The Thinking Woman’s Lesbian Romance Writer.”

    She has expressed some discomfort with the title, but she is fully deserving of it, nonetheless. For those of you who are already Saint-Clair fans: C.C. is seeking an American publisher this year in hopes of widening her readership base. See what all the fuss is about! Get your own copy of Jagged Dreams today.

  5. All things Lesbian – forum Feedback
    FreeFall

    Hi again!
    Heard about the hacking – a tragic loss of a fab forum. Glad it’s bounced back!

    So I’m back to tell anyone who hasn’t already read jagged dreams by cc saint-clair that they have simply GOT to read it!

    I found this book compelling. I really shouldn’t have been reading it – in work when I should have been working, at home when I should have been studying, at night when I should have been sleeping…. but I just couldn’t put it down! I couldn’t wait to find out what happened next, and I was GUTTED when I finished the book. I felt wronged, betrayed, let down. I just didn’t want it to end!

    I loved the format – a woman reliving past episodes of her life through the dream state of concussion. Gotta say I had concussion once after a ridiculous blow to the head – and it wasn’t anywhere near as good as this! Sexy and thought-provoking, Tamara’s adventures stirred in me a yearning for…… what, I don’t know. But I suspect I might find it in the rural backwaters of old-fashioned France…

    I can relate to the leading woman – Tamara – in lots of ways. I understand the appeal of relationships with older women, and the annoyance of them always telling u you’re younger than them! I understand the wanderlust, tho I haven’t had her opportunities to travel quite so much. I loved the way cc wrote the bilingual dialogue. Reminded me of the journeys I have taken, and the difficulties and intrigues of communication. I liked Tamara, the tomboy with her roller blades and her cursing. In some ways, she’s the perfect dyke – imperfect but fascinating, desirable, unattainable…

    My favourite part of the book is the last few days Tamara spends in the French countryside. I don’t wanna spoil the plot, but suffice to say that it’s not only Tamara who’s left with lasting, and very fond, memories…

    This book appeals to the dyke who’s done everything, the dyke who’s doing everything, and the dyke who’d do everything if she only had the chance! If u fit one of these categories, u have to read jagged dreams. It’s well written, innovative, sexy, familiar, emotionally engaging, exciting, intelligent, oh the list of appropriate adjectives is endless. So just get off yer arse and go read this book! Don’t believe me ? look out for extracts of jagged dreams on cc’s website: http://www.ccsaint-clair.com

    with love n respect to cc and her readers

    FreeFallxx

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