Motifs are recurring themes or ideas in fairy tales. Even though the Standard Dictionary of Folklore says: “A mother as such is not a motif. A cruel mother becomes one because she is at least thought to be unusual,” that is actually what made me curious about recurrences in fairy tales. Continue reading
July 2017 Theme: Brunch
Book Club Set Up:
Each member of our group (women ages 24-49) draws a month and a genre/theme. Whosever month it is, gets to choose a book in their category and host the meeting.
The group has approximately 3 weeks to read the book and then we get together for themed food & to discuss the book.
Quick Book Summary (from Amazon): September 29, 2015 – Brunch at Bobby’s 140 recipes for the best part of the weekend. By Bobby Flay with Stephanie Banyas and Sally Jackson. At long last, Bobby Flay shares his simplest, most sought-after recipes—while still delivering his signature intense flavors.
This Month’s Meeting:
For July, we all got together for brunch, of course. We prepared/cooked our chosen recipes, gobbled it up, and then rated each one on a scale of 1-5. Overall, we thought the cookbook was great and gave the book a rating of 4 stars out of 5.
The group’s favorite Dishes:
All of the following dishes received at least 4 stars.
*Lemon Ricotta fritters:
Cook: I would make these again. Easy to prepare, but they had to be fried.
Tasters: They were light, fluffy, and not overly sweet.
*Caramelized Onion, Spinach, and Gruyere Strata:
Cook: There was a lot of prep work but I would cook this again for a special occasion. The cheese was also expensive ($15.00) but really good.
Tasters: Lots of flavor, yummy crispy parts. (Even the non-egg fans of the group thought it was good.)
Cook: Easy to make; I would make this again.
Tasters: They had a nice crunchy/soft combo. Tasted like gingerbread, even though no ginger was added.
*Strawberries filled with “Clotted” Cream:
Cook: Simple to make and delicious.
Tasters: Yummy! Yummy! Yummy!
*Browned Butter Banana Bread:
Cook: Fairy easy to make, but I did over-brown the butter the first time.
Tasters: Really good, moist, and loved the addition of the blueberries.
Average and/or Mixed Reviews Dishes:
No one really hated any of the food, and most of the recipes were simple to make but the taste was average. All three of the mimosas we made ended up here.
*Strawberry Jam: Mixed reviews. The majority liked the jam, but some thought it was too sweet.
*Open-faced Egg Salad Tea Sandwiches: Not much flavor for how much work went into it. The radishes were a nice addition.
*Silver Dollar Buttermilk Pancakes with Bourbon Molasses Butter: Taste like pancakes. (I thought the butter was real good.) Overall, average scores (mostly 3s) but the cook would make these again.
*Watermelon Margarita Mimosa: Yech, tart, not worth all the preparation. But someone did like the strong watermelon flavor.
*La Fraise: A bit of work and not very pretty. This mimosa received mixed reviews. (2 people gave it 4 stars.)
*Tangerine-gin Fizz: Also received mixed reviews. Easiest and prettiest drink out of the three drinks. Recommended only if you like gin.
Thoughts about the Book from the book club members:
I love it when recipe books have pictures. (Brunch at Bobby’s does.)
I thought that sometimes Bobby Flay wrote down all the steps to a recipe and then thought about how he could make it more complicated. “Can I add a vanilla bean to this recipe? Yes! This is a good network recipe now.” But that’s okay.
I like it when recipes/cookbooks give a substitute option for ingredients. (Brunch at Bobby’s does not.) Like for the vanilla bean. It would have been helpful, if he would have said how much vanilla extract to substitute.
The recipes were approachable but upscale.
Loved the pictures.
Some of the food seemed weird with strange combos.
This cookbook was worth the purchase; I will be trying more of the recipes soon.
The recipes weren’t too hard to make – just the ingredients were too booshie.
The book had a good range of different breakfast options.
The drinks were kind of a bust.
You should Brunch at Bobby’s!
Love and Laughter,
by Dorlana Vann
(Inspired by Midsummer Nights Dream)
She never knew where she’d go when she closed her eyes
Her deep dreams bewitched, and her sleeping soul stolen
Always to follow her love through tomorrow’s skies
Cursed by her own craft, ties deliberately woven.
“I place this herb where I have cried
Hopes of waking beside a new lover.
For now and eternity we’ll be tied
His true love for me he’ll soon discover.
Neither time nor distance will love divide
His heart will never beat for another.
Now sleep please find me before the new dawn
From which a charmed passion will truly spawn.”
The enchantment’s promise laced in bitter-sweet lies
He loved her before they met and days gone golden
Now they’re in yesterday’s forest, sweetly embraced
But when he wakes, memory of love is erased.
To achieve the future he planned, Neal must play by Brenda’s rules
My publisher (Soul Mate Publishing) just informed me that, for the first time, The Trouble with Scarecrows – Kindle eBook edition – is free on Amazon for a limited time. You can get your copy now until June 16, 2017.
The story has new dating terms and concepts, outrageous shenanigans, a touch of magical realism, twists and turns, broken hearts, seduction, food, and of course romance.
A scarecrow is the opposite of a wingman, a dating decoy used to scare away any “crows” who are giving unwanted attention, making it difficult for the right man to have a clear shot.
Thirty-year-old Brenda Fisher believes the best way to get over her ex is to face her past and find a new guy. She knows the type of man she needs in her life … and the type of man she does not, which includes alpha males like Neal Parker.
Neal Parker’s friend and former boss, Larry White, had been gracious enough to let him stay at his old apartment rent-free while Neal pursues his culinary degree. But now the owner of the multiplex–Larry’s high-strung ex-girlfriend, Brenda Fisher–is threatening to sell it out from underneath him. Brenda is possibly the sexiest woman Neal has ever met. Nevertheless, he’s aware of her past destructive relationship with Larry and knows it’s best to stay clear.
When Neal finds out Brenda might be in need of some help in the romance department, he tries to trick her into an exchange: scarecrow services for the apartment. Brenda does not appreciate being manipulated. She ups the stakes, and if Neal wants the future he’d planned, he’ll have to play by her rules.
Get your copy here:
And it would be amazing if you left a review for me on Amazon.
Love and Laughter,
On its 8th year anniversary, Jaclyn’s Ghost now has a new cover, and (for the first time) it is available all by itself in paperback.
Jaclyn’s Ghost has been through a lot over the years. I finished the first draft in 2006. The book was first published back in May 2009 by Tease Publishing (they have since closed their doors) as part of their Dark Tarot series (The Death Card) and was released in paperback along with my other supernatural
mystery, Passage to Queen Mesentia. The book even had some shelf life, copies were available Nation-wide in Barnes and Noble stores for six months.
In 2010 I received my rights back to both stories. Around that time, Amazon eBooks were a fairly new option that I found very intriguing and decided to give it a try. I released the eBook in January 2011 (under Pixie Punk Press). Since then, it has received some great reviews (and a few others) on Amazon.com , Amazon UK , and Goodreads.
Recently, Amazon introduced a new way to publish paperbacks from the KDP platform – a new adventure that I
had to explore. I had self-published a couple of paperbacks through CreateSpace , (Silverweed: a supernatural fairy tale 2011 and Ninja vs. Pirates 2012) and Amazon has definitely streamed-lined the process. Independently publishing a book is not only easier, there are more formatting choices, which, I think, makes the finished product more appealing.
To celebrate this new release, I am giving away 3 paperback copies on GoodReads (sign up now thru June 30, 2017 using the link below) and the eBook will be free on Amazon June 1, 2017 – June 5, 2017. After that, the price of the eBook will only be .99 cents. (Free for Kindle Unlimited members) And please let me know what you think about the new cover. Thanks!
Love and Laughter,
by Dorlana Vann
A bequeathed curse placed upon a kingdom.
A century of thorns and valiant deaths.
A beautiful rose dreams of love’s freedom.
Without a mere glimpse he pursues his quest.
Fate leads the way and parts the tangled briar.
Gently he walks through a city at rest.
Destiny sleeps deep in a dark tower.
One second to see, one second to yearn.
Love’s sweet ache impels a kiss of power.
When their lips touch the intense passion burns.
The clouds move away to reveal the sun.
Happily ever after, soon they’d learn.
After a hundred years, all has undone.
A bequeathed curse lifted from a kingdom.
Book/Movie Club Set Up:
Each member of our group (women ages 24-48) draws a month and a genre/theme. Whosever month it is, gets to choose a book and movie in their category. (They do not have to be one in the same.)
The group has approximately 3 weeks to read the book and then we get together to eat, discuss the book, and then watch the movie.
Note: We had a schedule change; March’s book will actually be April’s, so we decided at the last minute to read the original fairy tale and compare it to Disney’s Movie version this month.
Quick Story Summary (from Amazon):
1756 Written by: Jeanne Marie Le Prince de Beaumont 1756 (French: La Belle et la Bete) is a traditional fairy tale (type 425C — search for a lost husband — in the Aarne-Thompson classification). It is a timeless story about looking past appearances to uncover truth and beauty.
Quick Movie Summary (from IMDB):
2017 Directed by: Bill Condon Screenplay by: Stephen Chbosky and Evan Spiliotopoulos – Staring: Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans, and Josh Gad. An adaptation of the fairy tale about a monstrous-looking prince and a young woman who fall in love.
We met at the movies and then went to our local hangout, The Draft, for food and drinks after the show to discuss and compare story to movie. They make a mean pork & chicken quesadillas and chili corn dogs.
Thoughts about the Story:
It was written in traditional fairy tale style with lots of familiar genre elements: the evil sisters, the misunderstood fair maiden who everyone mistreats, no mother figure, romance, magic, and even a little danger.
In the original story, Beauty had sisters and brothers. I can see why Disney decided not to use them for their version because even though they weren’t stepsisters, they were still evil and that would have been too much like Cinderella. So the townsfolk took that role. There was also no Gaston in the original version, and, of course, no enchanted talking castle furniture.
I liked that Disney took and ran with the wolves from the original story. They also kept the roses, the castle, and the theme: beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
Thoughts about the Movie:
It was a really good movie – even our group’s biggest skeptic (“This is a musical?!”) ended up liking it. I’m not a big fan of musicals, either, so some of the singing numbers went on a bit long *yawn,* for me. And one person added, “Don’t let the beast sing.”
But I thought the scenes were big and theatrical and reminded me a lot of the “Phantom of the Opera” movie. The set (the castle) was grand and amazing. The movie had just enough magic to make it a true fairy tale. Some of our group loved everything about the movie and have watched it multiple times.
We kind of thought Beast looked better as the beast – “The movie title should have changed to Beauty and Beauty after the Beast turned back into a man.”
We thought Josh Gad was funny and the perfect actor to play LeFou. He has also been a lot of voices in animated movies – Frozen, The Angry Birds Movie, and Ice Age: Continental Drift.
Luke Evans (Gaston) played in “The Girl on a Train” – one of the movies we recently reviewed. But most of us didn’t recognize him until someone pointed it out.
According to IMDB: “The film title and part of the closing credits are accompanied by French subtitles, to homage the fairy tale’s French origins.” I think that’s pretty cool.
The Group’s Average ratings (out of 5):
Story: 3.7 Roses
Movie: 4.3 Roses
The bottom line:
It was interesting reading the original fairy tale before watching the most modern version of the movie. I think the heart of the story was kept, and the movie is entertaining enough for the entire family. Read and watch them both!
Next month’s Book:
The Restaurant Critic’s Wife by Elizabeth LaBan
Love and Laughter,
The Day Dreamer
Recently, I was looking up the classic telling (1756) of “Beauty and the Beast” by Jeanne Marie Le Prince de Beaumont and one of the things that I found interesting was that it was classified as type 425C, which is Search for a lost husband in Aarne-Thompson – Types of the Folk Tale. It reminded me of an article I had written in 2009 about fairy tale motifs. I posted the short blog post below – If this interests you, you can now find all kinds of information on the internet about this subject. And although it can get a little confusing, if you are a fairy tale buff, you’ll probably find it fascinating.