Dorlana Vann – Author

Supernatural Fairy Tales and Romantic Comedies … with ghosts of course.

Book (Wonder) and Movie (Home Alone) Club’s Review

November’s 2016 Book and Movie Review Theme:  Children

Book/Movie Club Set Up:

Each member of our group (women ages 23-48) 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.

wonder

Quick Book Summary (from Amazon): Wonder by R. J. Palacio (2012): August Pullman was born with a facial difference that, up until now, has prevented him from going to a mainstream school. Starting 5th grade at Beecher Prep, he wants nothing more than to be treated as an ordinary kid—but his new classmates can’t get past Auggie’s extraordinary face.

 

home-alone

Quick Movie Summary (from IMDB): Home Alone 1990: An 8-year old troublemaker must protect his home from a pair of burglars when he is accidentally left home alone by his family during Christmas vacation.

The Itinerary:

november-2016-book-clubWe met at Laura’s apartment for a slumber party! We ordered pizza and also had some of our childhood favs: brownies, brownie cookies, chips and dip, candy, and juice boxes. And some of our current favorites: beer and wine. We sat on the floor in our jammies to discuss the book and then watch the movie.

Thoughts about the Book:

Pros: Everyone really enjoyed the book. Some of us shared that there were a few tears shed during the reading. We liked the switching of different points of view. The author did a great job of making you feel strongly one way or another about all the characters. We all liked Auggie, but there were other standout characters, especially Via and Justin. And no one liked Julian of course, but Miranda was another character who the group thought was unlikable and had questionable motives.

Cons: I got distracted a few times by the out-of-date references: Clint Eastwood, Sound of Music, The little Rascals, Close Encounters etc. I think today’s 10-year-old (even in 2012) would use a little more current entertainment references. The book was slow at times – there were a lot of every day conversations.

Thoughts about the Movie:

We had a blast watching the movie. I mean, it was Home Alone, what’s not to love – but the fun might’ve also been due to a group of women sitting around eating kid food and drinking adult beverages.

We thought the movie would benefit from pop-ups explaining certain fun trivia, which some of us added during the movie, e.g., John Candy ad-libbed all his lines, the gangster movie that Kevin watches isn’t a real movie, and Home Alone was inspired by a scene from the movie Uncle Buck.

We also played “Dead or Not Dead,” guessing which booby traps the crooks endured would have actually killed them in real life.

Girly Discussion:

We thought the family mistreated the little guy in Home Alone.

Interesting Discoveries:

Wonder will be made into a movie starring Julia Roberts, Owen Wilson, and Jacob Tremblay.

Even the reviews for Wonder will make you cry.

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

Book:  4 juice boxes

Movie: 4 juice boxes

The bottom line:

Wonder is perfect for all ages. It is touching, humorous at times, and has subtle lessons about the importance of acceptance, friendship, and family. Read it!

Home Alone is a Christmas comedy classic – but you gotta watch it with fun friends who don’t mind talk and laughter during a movie.

Next month’s Book and Movie Theme: Romance – We are reading Tailored for Trouble by Mimi Jean Pamfiloff – Movie TBA

Love and Laughter,

Dorlana

Paperback Giveaway plus Amazon eBook Freebie

Hi Friends,

I wanted to let you know about two promotions I’m having right now. I’m giving away one paperback copy of  The Trouble with Snowmen. And Silverweed: a supernatural fairy tale eBook is free on Amazon.

the-trouble-with-snowmen-_8b-final-large-copyThe Trouble with Snowmen’s paperback giveaway is being hosted by GoodReads. If you are already on GoodReads it is super easy to enter. If you are not familiar with GoodReads and like to read, you should really check it out.  (This is open to US, GB, and, CA) Giveaway Ends November 29, 2016.

Enter Giveaway

A Romantic Comedy all about heart-breakers (snowmen), fun shenanigans, fashion, séances, downtown Houston, urban cowgirls, and some of that kissy-kissy stuff.

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.

Snowmen is also available for Kindle – the eBook is only $2.99 – As well as book 2 The Trouble with Scarecrows. 

banner-from-amazonSilverweed: a supernatural fairy tale eBook is free on Amazon today thru  Monday, November 21, 2016.

Silverweed is not a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood. The YA novel was inspired by my short story, Silverweed Muffins, which was inspired by Little Red Riding Hood. I used some of the same background and plot lines as the short story, but when I drafted my novel, I added a theme – a theme that I interpreted from the fairy tale. And to me, Little Red Riding Hood is all about fear, the message being, “Don’t talk to strangers,” and “Don’t stray from the path.” So Silverweed’s theme ended up being: The real monster is fear.

I also added a little fun (as well as discipline) when I decided to use lines from  Little Red Riding Hood as my chapter titles and chapter inspirations. And when you read the chapter titles in order, they actually a condensed version of the Grimm Brother’s Little Red Riding Hood. I also used them to kind of guide me through the book.

Superstition Background:

The superstition references in Silverweed are a combination of my grandfather’s stories and a cool little superstitions dictionary, Dictionary of Superstitions by David Pickering.

I’d never really been that superstitious, except for doing things like tossing salt over both my shoulders—yes, both because I didn’t know which one was correct. However, my interest sparked when my mom told me about my grandfather’s childhood stories. Apparently, his mother (pictured on the left – my great-grandmother – I think I kind of look like her) died when my grandpa was five-years-old; it happened the day after she’d told him to stop shooing the birds away that had landed on their front porch, because it meant death.
My grandfather had also told my mom that one day he had watched the devil walking out in his Alabama woods, pitchfork and all (Which I used in the first chapter of Silverweed).

Around the same time my mom was reminiscing (2006), I was writing the rough draft of the short story, and all of these memories set the entire mood for “Silverweed Muffins” which eventually became Silverweed the novel.

Here are a few links:

Amazon US

Amazon.de

Amazon.co.uk

GoodReads Reviews 

Love and Laughter,

Dorlana

Fairy Tale Inspired Poem: Bashful

Bashful

by

Dorlana Vann

 

When I saw her stretched across the tidy beds,

Love’s potent sword struck my heart before I knew

Who this lovely stranger was or one word said.

But I remained silent, as I always do.

 

With one bite, she fell ill on that dreadful day.

In a glass coffin, it hurt to see her lay.

I longed to kiss her ruby lips, but froze.

Joy but regret: the prince woke her and betrothed.

Discovery Green: Places from “The Trouble with Snowmen”

egyptian-festival-signegyptian-festivalOne of the Downtown Houston, Texas locations mentioned in my romantic comedy, The Trouble with Snowmen, is Discovery Green. This urban park has over 11 acres with a stage, a playground, shaded seating areas, gardens, and plenty of room for festivals.don-dean-and-dorlana-egyptian-fest

Last weekend, we (I went with my husband and son) attended the Egyptian Festival. They had camel rides, food, a show, and tented shopping, charity, and community booths.

egyptian-festival-canapic-jarI found a little treasure: a unique hand-carved canolistening-vessel-discovery-greenpic jar to add to my Egyptian collectibles.

Later, we sat on the lawn and watched the show for a few minutes, and then walked through the Wortham Foundation Gardens to The Listening Vessels. You sit on the little bench in the stone sculptures and another person sits in the other one that is directly across and 70 feet away. Y’all talk, and you can hear the other person’s voice all around you. It’s really cool.

If you live in Houston, or plan to visit, this is a great family outing, even if there isn’t a festival going on.

Love and Laughter,

Dorlana

snowmen banner sept 18

 

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