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Sharing our love for authors, and the stories they are inspired to tell.

Dreaming Not Sleeping
by Julia Kavan


Her nightmares were simply too good to resist. A woman is tempted away from the safety of her husband’s arms by a skilful night-time visitor. But they both find nothing is what it seems…

Cover Image For 'Dreamin, Not Sleeping' by Julia Kavan

This story is now available in print, as part of a dark-fiction anthology ‘Touched by Darkness’, featuring short stories by Julia and eleven of her fellow writers.


Image of author Julia KavanJulia, was born and has spent most of her life living in Cambridgeshire, England – the perfect place for discovering inspiration for ghost stories.

She was an avid reader of  horror stories as a teenager, including, James Herbert,  Stephen King, Clive Barker and Peter Straub, in her list of favourite authors. As a child she would watch anything that even vaguely looked as if it may be scary… so perhaps it is only natural that this is the area her writing tends to wander into – even if she doesn’t always intend it to!… a true Scorpio!

She has taught creative writing classes for the last ten years, whilst writing screenplays, tackling a novel and experimenting with short stories.

For a more detailed view of Julia’s take on life, check out this great guest interview with her, over at ‘Morgen Bailey’s Writing Blog’.


“I love a good story about the supernatural… but I love a good nightmare more, after all there is probably nothing as scary as our own subconscious”

“Our dreams are where we sometimes live out fantasies that perhaps our conscious mind refuses to acknowledge. We are allowed to do things in our dreams that we can’t (or perhaps shouldn’t) do in real life. What if, one day, you decide that your dream life is more exciting, more stimulating than the boring, safe, routine life you lead from day to day? If you could stay, would you?”


It was a kiss that brought me here. Soft and gentle. It ripped away my breath and tore away my soul. Now I can’t find my way back. I don’t want to find my way back. I hope you understand.

Cover Image For 'Dreamin, Not Sleeping' by Julia Kavan


“Sometimes our nightmares are too good to resist.”

Best to be warned that this is a very short story, only some 12 pages long, a mere 2,500 words.

The book also contains references to some mild eroticism.

I haven’t read a short story for many years and I really don’t know why. For an author a short story must be as, if not more, difficult to write than a full length novel. Being able to construct a mini plot, with a structured sequence of events, must need some intense planning and thought.

Not a precious word is wasted in this haunting, eerie and often poignant story, which has an almost ethereal quality in the way it captures the sensual yet horrifying feelings evoked by our nameless female protagonist.

The erotic passion, sensual language, horror and suspense, provide an atmospheric, chilling and unsettling read, as she constantly dreams a dream from which she cannot and often, does not, want to wake.

Slowly, her dream becomes a nightmare of sexual longing, losing someone she loves and being powerless to stop it, falling out of love with one person and in love, or is it lust with someone, or something else!

Her husband, worried by by the depth of her dreams, becomes drawn into her passionate alter ego, only to be used by whatever force is controlling his wife, for an uknown purpose and then tossing him aside like a leftover when she becomes totally obsessed….leaving me to ponder and speculate on the conclusion long after I had finished reading ….

A well spent few minutes, I loved this short story for what it is, but I didn’t really want it to end. Julia has a way with the language she uses, the style in which she writes is totally captivating and enthralling, and her ability to set a mood shows a rare talent.

So, if you get to see this post Julia, can we please have more of the same, only slightly longer next time.

Image of author Julia Kavan

‘Dreaming Not Sleeping’, was recommended to me by Cath, over at ‘Read Warbler’, who read it as part of her R.I.P. challenge in 2011.

I personally do not agree with ‘rating’ a book, as the overall experience is all a matter of personal taste, which varies from reader to reader. However some review sites do demand a rating value, so when this review is posted to such a site, it will attract a 4 out of 5.


Written by

I can’t remember a time, even as a child, when I haven’t been passionate about books and reading.
I began blogging, when I realised just how many other people out there shared my passion for the written word and I have been continually amazed at the wealth of books that are available and the amount of great new friends I have made, from literally 'The Four Corners Of The World'.

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  • I too have loved scary since I was a child. My favorite movies were the scariest I could find. I also loved (and still do) Stephen King, don’t think I’ve read the other 2 authors.

    Not at all a fan of eroticism, so I don’t think this is a book for me.

    • Hi Vicki,

      I am not a fan of eroticism either, although in such a short story, it seemed quite acceptable. I definitely wouldn’t read an entire erotic novel.

      When I was younger, I loved scary books and films, although I seem to have become more squeamish the older I have got. There was a series back in the early 1980’s called ‘Hammer House Of Horror’, which I was an avid follower of …


      … and I loved the old black and white horror films, my favourites included anything ‘Hitchcock’ and ‘Whatever Happened To Baby Jane?’ starring Bette Davis.

      I read a lot of the early Stephen King books, although lately since he has tended to write in the genre of science fiction, I am not such a great fan. You really should try a Peter Straub book, his writing is excellent, as is one of my other favourite authors in the genre, John Saul.

      Whatever you decide to read this week, I hope that you enjoy it and I thank you for stopping by, I always value your comments.

    • Hi Nikki,

      I enjoyed it as a short story, however a full length novel of erotica wouldn’t be for me either.

      I have never really taken much of an interest in short stories and would probably not purchase them unless they were being sold as a collection. However, I must say that I did enjoy Julia’s writing, as she managed to construct a complete plot, in such a few short words, which seems to me, to be no mean feat.

      Thanks for taking the time to read this post and comment, even though this book isn’t really for you, I appreciate it.

  • This does sound like an unsettling read, and one I would enjoy! You know I love a good scary story. The whole idea of her having someone, or something, haunting her dreams is very creepy. Especially that she becomes obsessed with him.

    • Hi Naida,

      It was certainly an evocative story and one which stirred the emotions.

      I must admit that I only read it initially because it had been recommended to me by a fellow blogger, and it was free! I don’t generally read short stories, because to me, they belong as a feature in a magazine, or as one of a selection of stories making up a larger collection in a book.

      At just 12 pages I wouldn’t have purchased it as a single item, however I now see that a larger collection of stories by various authors, including ‘Dreaming Not Sleeping’, is available, making it much more appealing to a buyer.

      I really wanted this book to go on for a little longer, although I guess that in retrospect, that would have killed some of the mystery and suspense surrounding it. However, I shall watch this author with interest, as I quite enjoy her style of writing and she is especially good at setting a mood.

      Thanks for the comment. As always, I really value and appreciate your visit and I hope that you have a good week.

  • Julia Kavan is a stunning writer.. It must be two years since I read ‘Dreaming Not Sleeping’ and it has stayed with m all that time. It’s so haunting and brimming with atmosphere. She has a unique way with words and I look forward to reading much more from her in the future.

    • Hi Catherine,

      Thanks for stopping by Fiction Books today. I love ‘meeting’ new people, so your visits will always be welcome and your comments always appreciated.

      Julia’s use of words and her ability to set a mood, is indeed unique, although the erotic nature of the piece, whilst okay with me in short story form, wouldn’t be my cup of tea in a full length novel format.

      I look forward to the time when perhaps Julia writes a slightly longer horror story, as I feel that there is so much more talent, just waiting to be expressed. I guess that her latest venture of the ‘Massacre Magazine’ is going to be occupying most of her time for the forseeable future though, so I can only wait in anticipation.

  • Not a fan of either the short story or the scary and especially not of the erotic alas this probably isn’t one for me. Still, it sounds well written and as you say given that its such a short read surely it can’t contain too much of the erotic.

    • Hi Tracy,

      Much of the eroticism is inferred, rather than explicit, so I didn’t find it particularly lurid to read.

      I used to be a great fan of horror books and films, although I seem to be getting more squeamish with age. I did realise from reading this story, that I do quite miss the occasional scary story though, so it might be time to dust off one or two of the Stephen King books I have languishing on the shelves.

      I will never be convinced that short stories are something I should read on a regular basis, however I did enjoy ‘Dreaming Not Sleeping’ having said all that.

      Thanks for taking the time to comment, even though this clearly isn’t a story for you, I appreciate your thoughts and input to the discussion.

  • Hi, Yvonne
    I just wanted to thank you for your lovely review. I found it the day after my publisher suddenly withdrew the anthology from sale, removing Dreaming, Not Sleeping along with it. I hope to make the story available again – it is short, but shows what I am about as a writer (I think!)

    Thank you again!
    Julia K

    • Hi Julia,

      Thank you for taking the time to stop by, I appreciate your kind words.

      I know I have had ‘Dreaming Not Sleeping’ in my TBR pile for some time,
      however I was most surprised to see the short story version had been removed
      from Amazon, when I went to post a copy of my review there.

      I had every intention of going back the following day and adding it to the
      reviews for the anthology, as a second best option, but was even more amazed
      to find that gone as well.

      I had no idea that publishers could wield such pressure and influence
      without author consent and I do hope that you manage to get the anthology at
      least reinstated ASAP.

      Let me know if you do and I will quite happily stop by and add my review.

      Kind Regards and Best Wishes for the New Year,

Written by Yvonne