In Which Ella Dreams of Moose-Elk and Jack the Ripper

I woke up at five in the morning screaming and convulsing. I haven’t had a nightmare that bad in months. I was able to recognize that I was dreaming, but unlike most nights, I couldn’t wake myself up and relax. I was just stuck in this state of semi-consciousness, aware that I was violently shaking and yelling, but entirely unable to physically control my body and make myself stop. In my thrashing about, I managed to kick all three cats off the bed and badly tangle my feet in the sheets.

Needless to say, I am not very enthusiastic about going to bed tonight. I’m bad enough at keeping my emotions in check while I’m awake, and it just gets worse the moment I drift off. And the biggest problem with that is that there is nothing I can do to reign in the terror. I just have to wait until I wake up, completely spooked, to calm down, and usually by that point, I can’t even fall back asleep again. It’s a very lousy pattern.

But talking about dreams and sleeping is almost always boring for everyone except the person telling the stories. That is, unless the people listening were in it*. And sadly, none of you were. I would have much preferred you all to the murderous creatures that decided to haunt me!

But, as Laini Taylor so kindly and helpfully reminded me on Twitter, dreams can inspire some really excellent stories. And I think that because the dream was so humorous in retrospect, I’ve got some excellent material for writing later on. A murderous moose-elk would get me a laugh, right? Maybe Jack the Ripper could be his trainer, and they’re planning on letting him loose in Alaska to terrorize the citizens of Anchorage. Or I could go the much more conventional and likely route and have a character go through my experience. What do you think? I haven’t written anything delightfully silly in months now, perhaps it is time for some humor.

*Pippa once had a dream where I was pregnant, and she woke me up very, very early in the morning to ask who the father was. After I got over the fact that it wasn’t even seven yet, we had a good laugh.

You can also find me on tumblr at, if, you know, you’re into that kind of thing. I’m more of the book, quotes from books, architecture/interior design, fashion posting type. There are some television show, movie, and space posts thrown in as well. It’s a happy place full of pretty, pretty things.

In Which Ella Reviews The Name of the Star

It’s 2011, not 1888, but Jack the Ripper is loose in London, and once again he’s impossible to catch. Murdering women and this time also men right in front of the watchful eyes of the CCTV cameras, he’s recreating each of the six murders down to the exact dismembering of the bodies. And just like in 1888, he has the attention of the entire world.

Enter Rory, a seventeen-year-old girl from Louisiana attending Westford, a London boarding school. One night Rory catches a glimpse of a creepy man walking away from the scene of the fourth murder, the man the police believe to be their prime suspect. But there’s a catch—only Rory was able to see him, not even her roommate who was with her at the time or the CCTV camera pointed directly at the crime.

The Name of the Star will send tingles up your spine as you uncover the reasons for why only Rory can see the Ripper and keep you on the edge of your seat as you follow her attempts to catch him. But the book is more than just your average YA thriller. Sure, it’s got suspense and plenty of action, but it’s also a story of friendship in light of troubling times. Despite branching out into a new genre, Johnson retains her humorous and witty style that her fans adore. She will make you laugh out-loud with her descriptions of Rory’s family back home, her negligee-wearing grandmother and uncle who freezes jars of peanut butter and yogurt, and you’ll wish you had friends as loyal and fun as Rory’s new British ones. This book is impossible to put down and a must for the spooky Halloween season.

Warning: Do not read this thriller at night or you’ll find yourself unable to sleep for hours as every creak in the house sounds like the Ripper’s footfalls coming and closer to your bed.

And as always, you can also find me on tumblr at, if you’re into that kind of thing.