“The Trouble with Scarecrows” is on Reading Alley


The Trouble with Scarecrows _3 Final (large) copyMy contemporary romance, The Trouble with Scarecrows, is available to download and review on Reading Alley until June 24, 2017. Reading Alley is a review site that not only gives members free books to download but you can also gain points towards rewards for honest reviews.

The Trouble with Scarecrows is a Romantic Comedy all about food, psychics, renovations, downtown Houston, ghosts shenanigans, tattoos, moving-on, and some of that kissy-kissy stuff.

Free: Supernatural Fairy Tales


supernatural fairy tales bannerFree Kindle download of Supernatural Fairy Tales today through March 25, 2017.

Supernatural Fairy Tales is my collection of 9 paranormal short stories all inspired by fairy tales.

If You Feed a Wolf – Inspired by Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

The Vampire’s New Suit – The Emperor’s New Clothes … but with Vampires.

Blueberry Eyes – One of my very first supernatural fairy tales. I’m not going to say which fairy tale this one was inspired by because it would give away the ending but I am working on a YA novel using this short story as my base.

The Gift – Inspired by The Ghost of Christmas Past from “A Christmas Carol.” A western with a touch of steampunk and ghosts.

If it weren’t for Bad Luck – Inspired by Rumpelstilzchen. You see, I have this theory about luck… Continue reading

Boovies book and movie club’s Review for February 2017: Before I go to Sleep


Boovies Banner Fun

February’s Book and Movie Review Theme:

Looking Back

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.

before i go to sleep book coverQuick Book Summary (from Amazon):

2012 Author: S. J. Watson – Compelling, fast-paced psychological thriller in which an amnesiac who, following a mysterious accident, cannot remember her past or form new memories, desperately tries to uncover the truth about who she is—and who she can trust.

 

Before_i_go_to_sleep_posterQuick Movie Summary (from IMDB):

2014 Director: Rowan Joffe Writers: Rown Joffe & S.J. Watson Stars: Nicole Kidman, Colin Firth, Mark Strong – A woman wakes up every day, remembering nothing as a result of a traumatic accident in her past. One day, new terrifying truths emerge that force her to question everyone around her.

The Itinerary:

This month we met at Darah’s apartment. We quickly agreed on our new name: Boovies book and movie club (Get it?).

Our host asked that we all bring a salty snack and a sweet snack. We ended up with quite afeb meeting food spread: ham and cream cheese wrapped green onions, beer dip with pretzels, bruschetta with balsamic glaze and garlic toast, Ritz bits w/ cheese and peanut butter, chips and salsa, saltwater taffy, ice cream sandwiches, salted caramel brownies, brownie bites, lemon pound cake, soda, wine, beer, and mimosas. Whew …

Thoughts about the Book:

Everyone seemed to enjoy the book even though the discussions were mostly aimed a the misses: red herrings, the slow middle, the drawn-out sappy wrap-up, character motivation, and the overall repetition—however, that was due to the nature of the plot and really couldn’t be helped. Most of us thought it was well-written, which also caused pause because the novel was mostly a rushed diary. Even after all of the criticisms, this book received one of the highest ratings from our group – so here are some of the reasons why we thought the book was well worth the read:

“I couldn’t put it down because I had to know the ending.”

“I liked the plot twist. It wasn’t what I had expected.”

“Easy and interesting read. It had a lot of build-up that made me not want to stop reading because I knew something bad was going to happen.”

“I just kept reading and reading because I loved how they uncovered the truth little by little.” Continue reading

Chapter 1 – The Trouble with Scarecrows


scarecrow-banner-2

The Trouble with Scarecrows  is the second book in the Trouble with Men series – However, the books are stand-alone & can be read in any order.

Chapter 1

 

Brenda Fisher hesitated at the door of the multiplex as if she stood at the entrance to hell. The long corridor was faintly lit by electric candelabras that hung between ordinary doors; the numbers One, Two, Three, Four were their only difference. “Who in their right mind would find this place quaint?” she grumbled as she forced herself to walk inside and shut the door.

The 1920’s brick home had been renovated into a four-apartment multiplex years before she’d bought it, and only one resident, Zadora Hart, lived there now. She had taken over the monthly payments from a previous tenant, and that lease was almost up. But Brenda had never intended on being a landlord and sure as hell wasn’t going to reside there permanently. Unfortunately, she did have to live there for a couple of weeks while her apartment was being remodeled and so she could get the old house ready to sell. She planned on staying in the former owner’s apartment, which was the largest of the four. More importantly, it held no personal scars . . . like Haley and Larry’s apartments did.

Brenda held her breath as she grabbed the glass doorknob and opened the apartment Haley Monroe, her former assistant, had lived in. Even though only a few pieces of generic furniture had been left behind, Brenda’s memories brought every miserable detail to life. This apartment had been the beginning of the end for her and Larry. She had outwardly kept it together the day she’d walked in and discovered that Haley and Larry had slept together. But on the inside, she’d had this sinking feeling that nothing would ever be the same again. She’d been right.

Brenda closed the door to Apartment Two and went across the hall to Larry’s old apartment. In that few seconds, her hurt transformed into anger, and she hated herself for buying the house for that ungrateful son-of-a-bitch in the first place. She nodded. “Good.” Resentment was exactly what she needed to open that door and to get on with her life. Facing the apartment was the next step in getting over Larry White. “I can do this,” she said as she eased the door open.

The apartment was arranged and decorated exactly the same as it had the day she’d surprised Larry with the expensively furnished writer’s retreat. But why did it look as if someone lived there now? Dishes had been left on the coffee table, shoes on the floor, the air-conditioner ran, and a lingering smell of bacon filled the air—all of which was strange because Larry had moved out months ago.

Her heart did a little flip. Perhaps not everything had gone the way Larry thought they’d go. Maybe he had left Haley and hadn’t had a chance to call or didn’t have the nerve to come crawling back. She’d told him he would come back. He always came back. A huge smile broke across her face. She would make him pay . . . but just for a little while. She still loved him, no matter what kind of jerk he’d been to her.

When she heard a noise coming from down the hall, she hurried toward it. “Larry? Larry, are you here?”

Brenda stood at Larry’s open bedroom door. Sure enough, clothes were everywhere. Larry had always been somewhat of a slob. Ever since college, she had to get after him to pick up his plate and to use a clothes hamper.

She heard the shower running and Larry whistling. She missed him so much. She wished she had done so many things differently. But everything would be okay now. Everything would go back to the way they had been. No, things would be better. Larry knew what she wanted now. He knew that she loved him and wanted a real relationship.

Forget about making him pay, she thought as she set her purse on the end of the unmade bed. She would give him a homecoming he would never forget. She removed her heels and then unzipped and slipped out of her dress. As she crossed the bedroom, she unfastened her bra and let it fall to the floor. Continue reading

Fairy Tale Poetry


Fairy’s Sorrow
By
Dorlana Vann

I’m sheltered from the rain,
But still I feel the mist.29677623 - landscape of morning sunrise, the foggy garden
It mixes with my pain
Confirming I exist.

I’m covered by the leaves
Living amongst the trees.
The more I see and learn
The more the world I yearn.

Inspired by The Dryad by Hans Christian Anderson

January: Book/Movie Club Reviews “The Light Between Oceans”


January’s 2017 Book and Movie Review Theme: Australia

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.

the-light-between-oceans-book-cover

 

Quick Book Summary (from Amazon): by M.L. Stedman, published July 31, 2012  Tom returns to Australia and takes a job as the lighthouse keeper and brings a wife, Isabel. Years later, after two miscarriages and one stillbirth, the grieving Isabel hears a baby’s cries on the wind. A boat has washed up onshore carrying a dead man and a living baby.

the-light-between-oceans-movie-poster

 

Quick Movie Summary (from IMDB): 2016 directed and screenplay written by Derek Cianfrance  Starring: Michael Fassbender, Alicia Vikander, Rachel Weisz  –  A lighthouse keeper and his wife living off the coast of Western Australia raise a baby they rescue from a drifting rowing boat.

 

The Itinerary:

light-between-oceans-food2We met at Sydney’s house this month. Since the theme was Australia, she ordered “Aussie-tizers” from Outback Steak House. We had Bloomin’ Onion® petals, Steakhouse Mac & Cheese bites, and cheesy fries. Wine, beer, and Australian cookies were brought by others.

 

Thoughts about the Book:

The opinions were split this month. Some people absolutely loved the book and some people hated the book. Out of six of us, three of us finished.

I was one of the people not to finish the book and was actually in the middle of loving and hating the book. I didn’t mind the writing; I actually enjoyed part I. I thought it was not the kind of book you read in a hurry but the type of book for a lazy afternoon. However, once I got to the more serious subject matter (I’m a sensitive reader when it comes to children), I couldn’t read it any longer. I wasn’t alone on this, even discussing the book made some of us tear-up.

Others hated/loved the book because of the writing style and details. One of us (I’m not naming any names) admitted to throwing her book across the room at one point because of the storyline.

Thoughts about the Movie:

Again, we were split down the middle. Here were some of the comments about the movie:

“The movie was really toned down. The most traumatic parts were not nearly as heart wrenching as the book.”

“I only stayed for half of it, and I was on my phone the whole time.”

“Loved the book and the movie was good, but I agree, it was toned down and it lost some of the drama because of it.”

“I thought it was super boring, and I didn’t like any of the characters.”

Girly Discussion:

Some thought the lead actress Alicia Vikander was gorgeous.book-club-peeps

We also pondered as to if we would be able to stay alone in a lighthouse like the characters had. How long would you be able to stay on an island with no other people – except your spouse?

Interesting Discoveries:

Five people portrayed the character, Lucy/Grace.

The Group’s Average ratings (out of 5):

Book: 3.4 Bloomin’ Onions

Movie: 2.8 Bloomin’ Onions

The bottom line:

light-between-oceans-food

This one is difficult to say. Personally, I thought the book was well-written and so if you don’t mind a non-feel-good tear-jerker, you should read it. But it did have a lot of flowery prose, so if you’d rather just get on with the story, this one might not be for you.

And if you were to pick just one, I would recommend the movie over the book (even though overall it received a lower rating) because you will actually get to see all the beautiful scenery instead of just reading about it.

 

 

Next month’s Book and Movie Theme: Looking Back.

Book: Before I go to Sleep by S.J. Watson

Love and Laughter,

Dorlana

 

 

 

 

Chapter 1: The Trouble with Snowmen by Dorlana Vann


the-trouble-with-snowmen-_8b-final-large-copyA Romantic Comedy all about heart-breakers (snowmen), fun shenanigans, fashion, séances, downtown Houston, urban cowgirls, and some of that kissy-kissy stuff.

The Trouble with Snowmen

by Dorlana Vann

Book 1: Trouble with Men Series

 

 

Snowmen drift into your life like they were sent from above. The relationship is great, rolls right along and builds. Everything seems perfect … until a little heat is introduced. Then they melt, leaving only their hat, their scarf, something to remind their victims of what they’d lost.

Urban cowgirl Haley Monroe is told that the fabulously hot guy who just dumped her was a snowman. Her friend, Maximilian, convinces her that the only way she’ll ever stop being played by snowmen is to become one. It takes a lot of drinks to work up the nerve, but Haley gets her sexy on and goes on the prowl.

Famous horror author Larry White drops everything to attend a midnight séance at Maximilian’s apartment where he meets Haley. By the way she’s dressed—and just propositioned him—he assumes she’s a hooker. Larry can’t pass up the chance to get inside her head, especially since prostitution is the character’s occupation in his next book.

After spending the weekend together, unexpected sparks surprise both Haley and Larry. The trouble is Haley is dead-set on snowmanning the unkempt “starving artist” she met at the séance, and Larry doesn’t think he could have a real relationship with a woman with a past, so they go their separate ways.

The real fun begins when they meet again and find out neither one of them were who they thought they were. Can they reignite the flame? Or will they have a snowman’s chance in hell?

The Trouble with Snowmen

By Dorlana Vann

Chapter 1

“I had him pegged as a snowman the moment I met him,” Regina said. “It was only a matter of time before he melted.”

“What are you talking about?” Haley Monroe appreciated Regina, the owner of the four-apartment multiplex they lived in, for jumping out of bed at 5 a.m., but now she wondered if she should’ve called Maximilian instead. “You’re not making any sense whatsoever. I’m talking about Travis. You know, my boyfriend.” Her throat threatened to close up as she forced out a high-pitched, “I mean, my ex-boyfriend. Here, look.” Haley gave Regina her phone with the text from Travis that said ‘I want to break up.’

“I know who you’re talking about.” Regina glanced at the phone before she sat down on the loveseat next to Haley. “I’m sorry, but Travis is a snowman, and snowmen never, ever last forever.”

Haley’s eyes burned as she wiped her tears on the shirt she had clutched against her chest. “Really, a snowman? A man made out of snow? I’ve never even seen a real snowman.”

Regina nodded and gave Haley a sad smile. “You have now. You see, snowmen drift into your life like they were sent from above, and you can’t believe that y’all have so much in common. The relationship is great, rolls right along and builds. Everything seems perfect . . . until a little heat is introduced, and then they melt. They melt, disappear, leaving only their hat, their scarf, or in this case, their shirt. That is Travis’s shirt you’re sobbing into, right?”

“Maybe, but that doesn’t mean anything. He’s forgetful, like me. That’s why we’re so perfect together.” Haley felt the heaviness in her chest as she forced out her reasoning, “We both love the same type of foods, love to do the same things . . . What?”

Regina shook her head and tsked a couple more times before saying, “The snowman’s snow job. They’ll tell you anything to keep you hopping into their beds. Travis most likely pretended to like everything you like in order to please you.”

“How is that a bad thing? I think it’s kind of sweet that he does things that I like just to make me happy.”

“Okay, fine. What about talk of commitment? Did you want to take the relationship to the next level? That would be the heat, because if he’s a snowman, there would’ve been something that caused him to melt.”

Haley thought of herself as a mature, independent, and smart twenty-five-year-old. True, she hadn’t really lived on her own for very long. After college, she had to move back home with her parents for a while. But now she lived in downtown Houston and worked two jobs. She was a legal assistant at the law offices of Skinner and Skinner during the day and a bartender at night. And she thought she’d had a sufficient amount of relationships to know when a man only wanted to play.

But crap! A moment of clarity banged around in her weary head as she thought about the night before. She’d told Travis she loved him. She could have sworn he looked straight at her, but then he started snoring. And who could blame him after their passionate night together? Well, that’s what she’d thought up until a second ago. Had that really set him off? Had that been stupid of her to say? “Nope.” Haley sat up straight, determined to be strong, even though her squeaky voice gave her away. “Can’t think of anything.”

“Right.” Regina sighed in defeat. “Well, I’m sure it’ll come to you.” She patted Haley’s knee. “Next time you hook up with a guy, maybe you should try to stay away from his type.”

The door swung open, and Maximilian walked in. He was fully dressed, eye-lined, and hair-sprayed. He lived down the hall from Haley in Apartment Three and, since living there, he had become one of Haley’s closest friends.

Maximilian took one look at the situation and said, “Aww, your snowman melted.”

Regina stood up. “He texted her. The bastard.” She handed the phone to Maximilian.

“You too?” Haley whined and wanted to curl up in a ball, her pretend strength not even fooling her anymore. “Why didn’t y’all at least warn me if this is what y’all thought?” A little sob and string of snot escaped. She considered wiping her nose on Travis’s shirt but just couldn’t do it, so she used the back of her hand instead.

“Would you’ve listened to us?” Regina said as she headed in the direction of the kitchen.

Maximilian said, “I wouldn’t have listened to us either if I had that tall, blond, muscled cowboy.”

Regina came back with a paper towel and handed it to Haley.

As Haley cleaned up, she thought about the question. Besides being gorgeous, Travis was easy-going and they never fought about anything big. So none of this made sense. She didn’t know if she bought their snowman theory. “Maybe I misunderstood the text. I should call him, and—”

“No!” Regina and Maximilian shouted in unison.

“Let him seep into the ground where he belongs,” Maximilian said.

Regina said, “Since reinforcements are here, I guess I’m going to go pee, brush my teeth, and get my coffee.”

“Wait, Regina,” Maximilian said. “I was actually looking for you. Can I have a séance in Apartment Four tonight?”

Regina crossed her arms. “There are no such things as ghosts, Maximilian.”

Mr. Chase had died before Haley had moved in. She’d heard the story, though, of how they’d found the eccentric old man’s body amongst his hordes of canned goods that he’d stored for the end of the world. Maximilian speculated that his food had fought for freedom and buried him alive. All Haley knew for sure was that Regina couldn’t keep the apartment rented.

Maximilian put his hand on his hip. “Peter Jackson ran out screaming.”

“So did that biker dude,” Haley added and then blew her nose, grateful that the subject had changed.

Regina looked from Haley to Maximilian before saying, “Fine, it’s all yours.”

“Will you be there?”

“That old fart still owes me two month’s rent. You bet I’ll be there.”

After Regina left, Maximilian sat in the seat next to Haley. He handed her the phone back. “Tell Uncle Maximilian all about it.”

“Not much to tell. Seems like you and Regina knew Travis better than I did.”

“We just have more experience in reading people and not letting them manipulate us. The sad truth is, snowmen don’t fall from the sky preassembled. You had to help build him.”

“What? Me? What did I do?”

“You probably let him get by with little things because you didn’t want to lose him. Each time he got by with not calling when he said he would or blowing you off to go hang with his buddies, he grew. But honey, I’m not saying it’s all your fault. He took advantage of you because, let’s face it, you’re still a little green.”

Now that Haley thought about it, the reason they never fought was because he’d look at her with his baby blues, smile, and then take off his shirt and say, “I’m sorry, babe, let me make it up to you.” And she thought about what pretty babies they would have. Had he never planned on having a future with her? Haley looked down in disgust at Travis’s shirt. “Maybe y’all are right.” She went to throw the crumbled-up shirt to the floor when Maximilian grabbed it.

“Of course we’re right!” He stood up holding the maroon shirt with white shoulder yokes against his chest. “I could make cowboy clothes.” Maximilian slipped the shirt on over his white V-neck T. “What do you think? Is it me? ”

All it did was make Haley think about her and Travis’s night together and how sexy he had looked in that shirt. “What am I supposed to do? Regina told me not to date his type. Am I not supposed to go for guys I’m attracted to? Am I supposed to stay away from hot guys?”

“Of course not. You have to teach yourself to know the difference between a real man and one made of white fluff.” Maximilian arched a thin eyebrow. “You know, there may be a way to speed up the process of IDing the snowmen, but it might seem a bit extreme.”

“Okay,” she mumbled. “I’m curious. What is it?”

“Simple. It’s like the old saying goes, It takes one to know one. You have to become the snowman.”

“Simple? I’m still not positive what a snowman even is.”

Maximilian plopped back down on the couch.

Haley got a strong whiff of Travis’ musky, citrusy scent. She fought back the tears by squinching up her face and holding her breath.

“Oh, peaches, it’ll get better. Looking at you, I think this is a good idea. You just have to make sure you protect yourself by finding someone you’re not attracted to. Cozy up to someone who is totally not your type. Don’t even spit at anyone who you think is hot. Got it?”

She shrugged and puttered out her breath.

“As soon as they indicate that they’re in love, or almost in love, or at least in lust with you, you dump them. Don’t forget to leave something behind. It’s the icing on the cake, the cherry on the ice cream sundae, the cigarette after sex. It’s an ego trip. See, snowmen hope their victims do what you did with this garment.” He sniffed at the shoulder of his new shirt. “You know, I bet he dabbed extra deodorant or cologne on this before he left. I must say, he’s one of the best snowmen I’ve ever met. I’m a little in awe.”

Haley put her hands over her face and let out a muffled, “I don’t think I can do that. It seems really mean. It feels really mean.”

“Sacrifices must be made in order for you to get your education. You have to experience it from the other side. You’ll get over Travis, and whoever you snowman will get over you. And everyone will be the better for it.”

“I don’t know.” Haley dropped her hands to her lap and shook her head.

“Why don’t you come tonight? To the séance. I promise there will be a couple of single, straight men.”

“No offense, Maximilian, but I don’t think anyone going to your séance will be anyone I’m interested in.”

Maximilian sighed with vigor. “You are a slow pupil, aren’t you? That’s who you need, sunshine! Someone you will never ever fall in love with. If you don’t do this now while you hate men, you probably never will. Use your anger and pain. Grrr. Put your cowgirl boots on and do some ass kicking.”

“I’ll have to think about it. Right now, all I feel like doing is nothing. Maybe I’ll go back to bed. Wait, do you have any of that double chocolate espresso ice cream left? Better yet, tequila. Yes, tequila. Oh wait, it’s breakfast time. What was I thinking? I mean a tequila sunrise.”

“Don’t you have to go to work?”

“The last thing I want to do is face Brenda Fishlips this morning.”

“Come on. Get up and get dressed. Moping around won’t do you any good.”

“Fine. I’ll go to work, but I’ll have to let you know about the séance later.”

“Well, you know I’m not one to pressure, but this time I must insist. It’s for your own good.” He gave her a quick peck on the cheek and then stood up. “Midnight, of course. Be there or be snowman bait forever.” And he was out the door.

Haley thought back to the night she’d met Travis. Did he do as Regina had said he’d done? Had he drifted into her life? What did that even mean? True, she hadn’t known him before.

He had caught her attention that first week she’d tended bar at Kicker’s nightclub. He was built and bulged but moved gracefully with this girl and the next on the dance floor.

When he made it up to the bar to buy a round for his group, they locked eyes. He smiled and slowly tipped his cowboy hat. Haley tried not to look at him while she helped other customers, but every time she sneaked a glance, she caught his stare. When she got to him, her heart pounded, and she couldn’t keep the smile from giving her excitement away.

The first words out of his mouth had been “What time do you get off work?”

She expected to get hit on by customers, kind of part of the job, and she usually brushed them off, but this guy actually made her cheeks heat up. She told him the truth. She had to close and then get up early to go to work the next day.

He leaned on the counter and said, “That’s okay, babe, I can wait all night for you. In the morning, I’ll make you a hot breakfast in bed before you head out to work.”

She remembered the thoughts she had at that moment. What a shame. The hottest cowboy I’ve ever met is a walking cliché of a playboy.

But then he said, “I’m sorry.” He removed his hat, his blond hair bringing out the sparkle in his blue eyes. “I didn’t mean to come on so strong. I panicked. I usually don’t get so nervous, but I’ve never met anyone like you before . . . you’re breathtaking.”

She’d given him her number, and they went out a couple of nights later. On the third date, they slept together, which she thought had shown tremendous restraint.

As she thought this all through, she guessed she had had some type of gut feeling about him being what Regina and Maximilian called a snowman. She totally ignored it because she had been blinded by his dynamic looks and charm combo.

Haley closed her eyes and moaned. If she were to be honest with herself right now, Travis wasn’t the first snowman she’d ever dated. How many times had she felt this sickening feeling that she would miss them to death, but they wouldn’t even glance back? She didn’t like it one bit. Maybe it would be possible to learn how to trust and pay attention to her instincts more. Maybe Maximilian was right. Perhaps it would “Take one to know one.”

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Soul Mate Publishing Aug 2015

 

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