“The Little Mermaid” Inspired Short Story


His Soul Inspiration

by Dorlana Vann

 

“Have you read this?” My husband, Philip, held the book of fairy tales I had bought from a used bookstore for my niece’s ninth birthday.

“Well, not that one, but I’ve read fairy tales before,” I said as I shut the door and stepped out of my heels.

He shook the hardback of nearly 500 pages. “Not like these.”

“Yeah, sure I have. ‘The Ugly duckling,’ ‘The Emperor’s New Suit,’ ‘The Little Mermaid’…”

“Right-right-right. These are them, but not like the ones I’m sure you’re thinking of. They’re not all fairy princesses and happy endings. They’re darker, full of hardship and pain and broken hearts.”

“All right,” I said. His excitement confused me because it didn’t match what I thought he was saying. “Do you think I should take it back and get Emily something else?”

“No. I mean, yes, you should get Emily something else. But no, don’t take this back.”

I scratched my head. “Are you okay?”

“I’m more than okay—I’m terrific!” He set the book down on the couch, wrapped his arms around me, and twirled us around. As he put me down, an amused smirk transformed into a wide smile and huge eyes. “The Little Mermaid!” he exclaimed.

Philip had been having a rough year, trying to find his inspiration to paint. This sudden strangeness made me queasy, and I was a little surprised that he had cracked before I had. Not that I didn’t respect his work, goals, and dreams, it’s just that I had some of my own. And working two jobs to support a starving artist had never been my plan.

He had picked up the book again and was flipping through it when I decided to go run a bubble bath.

“Syrena, here it is. I want to read this to you right fast.”

“I’m really tired. I just want to go soak in the tub.”

“Please. This is it. This is what I need to get me out of this slump. Please, just listen and see.”

I sighed as softly as I could manage and took my place beside him on the couch. He began to read: “The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Anderson. Far out in the ocean, where the water is as blue as the prettiest cornflower, and as clear as crystal, it is very, very deep …”

 

***

 

“Well, it’s definitely different than the Disney version,” I said after he had finished reading the tale. “I didn’t realize it was so sad.”

“Anything else?” He asked slowly.

I shook my head and shrugged.

“Her skin was as clear and delicate as a rose-leaf, and her eyes as blue as the deepest sea,” he quoted. “And she wrapped herself in her long, thick hair.”

“I’m sorry, Philip. I’m tired. I’m not getting what you’re getting at. Just tell me.”

“It’s you! You have to be my model.” His eyes sparkled, and he looked so happy, happier than I had seen him in a long time. I even felt a tinge of exhilaration myself. It had been awhile since he had asked me to model for him.

“Okay.” I smiled. “Mermaids are topless, right?”

He danced his eyebrows up and down. “You betcha.”

“It sounds like fun. Saturday morning, I’m all yours.”

“No, no, no. Now.” He stood up and held his hand out to me.

“Now?” I whined.

“I can’t take the chance of losing this, this feeling.”

After a few seconds of staring into his imploring but loving eyes, I agreed by taking his hand and letting him lead me to the studio/guestroom/home office. A few of his paintings hung on the walls: abstracts from his college years, pencil drawings sketched when we were on vacation at the beach, and one of me when we first met. The evening really made me think of that time, when he was so vigorous and full of dreams. When his passion oozed from his fingertips, and he saw the world differently than anybody I had ever met before; he noticed colors before shapes and talked in hues and aura, like others talked current events.

It didn’t take him long to put me in position: on the floor leaning on my elbow, legs out beside me, and my hair down and draped over the front of me like a mermaid’s. I knew he was in his zone, no longer seeing me, but seeing through me and to my spirit.

“Beautiful.” He took his place behind the easel and white canvas.

Unable to see his face, only his arm as it gently followed the hand holding the paint brush, I knew not to talk, not to disturb him as he created the new, improved me. However, after what felt like hours, my mouth began to dry. I needed water. Surely he would understand that I needed a little break—I opened my mouth to tell him, but my tongue was completely limp, and I couldn’t even swallow. The silly words from the story came to mind: “Then she cut off the mermaid’s tongue, so that she became dumb, and would never again speak or sing.”

Trying to laugh at the thought, I felt a strange pinch in the middle of my stomach. An involuntary grunt finally came from my throat, and when I realized I could make this sound, I tried to get Philip’s attention, but he didn’t hear me because he was too focused in his work.

I squeezed my eyes open and shut, trying to clear the buzzing that had begun in my head. And then I saw the waves of color beaming from me to Philip’s swooping arm. At first I thought it was the result of the light bulbs and my blinking, but it didn’t go away. It was dark outside, so there was no sun playing with the window’s glass. These streams of gold and red and blue were coming from me.

Suddenly, I felt a sharp pain run up my arm, and it couldn’t hold me up any longer. I collapsed. “…and it seemed as if a two-edged sword went through her delicate body: she fell into a swoon, and lay like one dead…” I thought Philip would soon look at me and tell me to sit up—but minutes passed, and he never glanced away from the canvas. The pain moved down to my legs and so did the beams of colorful light. “…she felt as if treading upon the points of needles or sharp knives.”

As I grew weaker, my confusion faded. It became clear that if I didn’t get Philip’s attention, I would die, which promptly turned into: if I don’t stop Philip, I will die. “Haste, then; he or you must die before sunrise.”

I pushed my torso up with wobbly arms, every muscle burning. I couldn’t feel my legs at all. “She has given us a knife: here it is, see it is very sharp. Before the sun rises you must plunge it into the heart of the prince; when the warm blood falls upon your feet… return to us to live.” I remembered the scissors on my desk behind me. I loudly grunted as I reached and grabbed them, dropping immediately back down. I lay there, time passing until I was able to pull myself by plunging the scissors into the carpet and using them as a means to move across the floor.

With each breath, my lungs tightened as if the air itself was poison. I coughed and gagged, but still Philip did not stir. Finally, I lay beside him at his easel, taking a moment to gather some strength. The hand that held the scissors ached and so did my heart at the thought of what I had to do to survive. I used the rest of my might to pull myself up, leaning on my left hand, and brought the weapon behind my head with my right.

When I shifted my view, the painting came into focus. It was complete, save for the sun. Philip dipped his brush into the yellow and orange mixture, and I examined The Little Mermaid, letting the scissors fall behind me as I marveled at her beauty. She was alive. This painting was Philip’s dream, his life’s work … his masterpiece.

Easing the brush away from the bright sun, Philip whispered, “Finished,” as I fell into soft darkness…

“…and then mounted with the other children of the air to a rosy cloud that floated through the aether.”

 

The End

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“The Trouble with Scarecrows” is now available in paperback – & a Giveaway!


scarecrow promo pictureHi Friends,

The second book in my Trouble with Men series, “The Trouble with Scarecrows” is now available in paperback. To celebrate, I’m giving away 2 copies on Goodreads.

I find second books in series interesting because without the first book they would not have existed. And even though this book is its own story, that is still true. My protagonist, Brenda, was my antagonist in The Trouble with Snowmen. So I first went into this story thinking I was going to create this huge spectacular Scrooge character arc. But after my critique partners read the first draft, I soon realized that had been a horrible idea. One person hated Brenda with a passion lol, and that doesn’t quiet work as far as heroines in love stories go.

After years of really getting to know Brenda, I hope she comes across the page as The Trouble with Scarecrows _3 Final (large) copydynamic as I imagine her. And she’s paired with an equally energetic and passionate guy. 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.

Go to Goodreads Giveaway page!

Trouble with Scarecrows paperback (Amazon)

Trouble with Scarecrows eBook (Amazon)

the trouble with snowmen with bootsThe first book in the romantic comedy series “The Trouble with Snowmen” is available on Amazon!

eBook

Paperback

 

The Trouble with Scarecrows is available to Pre-Order


The Trouble with Scarecrows _3 Final (large) copy

To achieve the future he planned, Neal must play by Brenda’s rules.

Hi Friends,

The Trouble with Scarecrows (The Trouble with Men book 2) paperback is now available to Pre-order on Amazon.  Click here to reserve your copy for September 30, 2017 .

 

 

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.

Kindle ebook Available now for $2.99 (Free with Kindle Unlimited)

Book One (Trouble with Men Series) The Trouble with Snowmen is available in eBook and paperback. 

Love and Laughter,

Dorlana

Book Club Review for July 2017: “Brunch at Bobby’s”


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.

brunch at Bobbys bookQuick 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:plate with brunch

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.)

 

*Shoofly muffins:

strawberries and clotted creamCook: 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!

 

banana bread*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.

tangerine mimosa*Watermelon Margarita Mimosa: Yech, tart, not worth all the preparation. Butstrawberry mimosa 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 brunch at bobby's book and eggsthis 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.

 

Bottom Line:

You should Brunch at Bobby’s!

 

Love and Laughter,

Dorlana

 

 

 

Midsummer Nights Dream + Witches = Dream Spell Poem


Dream Spell
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.

fairy tale woman

 

“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.

Free eBook: The Trouble with Scarecrows


The Trouble with Scarecrows _3 Final (large) copyTo 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:

Amazon.com

Amazon.UK

And it would be amazing if you left a review for me on Amazon.

Love and Laughter,

Dorlana 🙂

Rerelease: Jaclyn’s Ghost – Paperback & eBook Giveaway


Hi friends,

new Jaclyn's Ghost

New Cover – Jaclyn’s Ghost

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

The Death Card jaclyns ghost and passage to mesentia

The Death Card – Dark Tarot (Jaclyn’s Ghost and Passage to Queen Mesentia) 2009-2010

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

Jaclyn's Ghost

Cover for Jaclyn’s Ghost 2011-2016

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,

Dorlana

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Jaclyn's Ghost by Dorlana Vann

Jaclyn’s Ghost

by Dorlana Vann

Giveaway ends June 30, 2017.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

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