Thursday, October 31, 2013

DVdL: HALLOWEEN IN PALM SPRINGS (ARTICLE)

Jennifer Johnson with the party's hostess, Christina.
DOLCE VITA di LIBRO: HALLOWEEN IN PALM SPRINGS

Dolce Vita di Libro's Esteemed Members, Jennifer and Hunter Johnson, were "representin'" at an incredible Halloween Party held in the Las Palmas area in Palm Springs. Dressed as an Austrailian swimmer and "Bruno, Chief of Police", Hunter and Jennifer met a couple of women who have started a local murder mystery book club, the "PS Bookies". Talk immediately turned to having a joint meeting, bringing the two groups together...
 
Also, The dynamic duo met a couple, dressed as clowns, who have a over 3,000 murder mystery book library (including rare and hard-to-find editions) and yearly travel to the big "murder mystery book convention" held in the mid-west.
 
Who else should happen to be there?  On-line Esteemed Member Janet was dressed in a costume which she titled, "Crazy Housewife From New Jersey".

DVdL: MEET THE ESTEEMED ON-LINE MEMBER, LEE BALAN

Actor/writer Lee Balan stars in the noir feature film, "I Am...Dead" (2012),
as a conniving detective who yearns to be a murder mystery writer.
DOLCE VITA di LIBRO: MEET THE ESTEEMED ON-LINE MEMBER, LEE BALAN
 
Well-known Palm Springs writer, poet, fine artist, performer and actor, Lee Balan (aka Lee Alien) joins DVdL on-line as an Esteemed Member subscriber to the blog and has attended DVdL events. He appeared as the husband of DVdL's own Jennifer Johnson in the recent feature film, "The Mummy's Desire" and had a stellar performance in the noir who-done-it feature film, "I Am...Dead" -- which are available to watch for FREE on youtube. He also starred in the feature film, "Anno Domini Dracula", which was a Warhol-inspired horror/art film (see youtube for that as well).
 
The multi-talented Mr. Balan is currently preparing for a November art exhibition of assemblage works at the College of the Desert in Palm Desert. See his blog: http://leebalanarts.wordpress.com/

DVdL: "HALLOWEEN PARTY 2013" (VIDEO)


DVdL: NEW MULTI-MEDIA LOGO TAG (VIDEO)



DOLCE VITA di LIBRO'S NEW MULTI-MEDIA LOGO TAG
 
A brand new Dolce Vita di Libro "tag" has been created to be used on up-coming multi-media projects such as videos and films.  The 17-second-long "opening" uses a wide range of "retro-futuristic" images and sound effects to encompass everything Dolce Vita di Libro embraces: food and wine, murder mystery stories, and media -- with a touch of dark humor. 
 
Professional voice-over artist, Mr. James Barry, graciously donated his time and talents to be "The Voice of Dolce Vita di Libro" on the tag.  The fast-paced tag ends with the wonderful DVdL logo designed by graphic artist Davidro.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

DVdL: HALLOWEEN PARTY ROGUE'S GALLERY (PHOTOGRAPHY)

HALLOWEEN PARTY ROGUE'S GALLERY
DVdL's Esteemed Member, Ms. Peggy Vermeer hosted a fantastic Halloween party for other Esteemed Members and friends in Palm Springs, California. Here are some of The Usual Suspects as photographed by DVdL's Creative Director, Brother Andy...

The "Doctor" Lee B. is both "in the
house" and "out of it" -- if you
know what I mean.


The party never ends -- ever --
for Palm Springs maven, Peggy V.
Bottoms up!  And drink, too!
 
Bodacious Lady "M" kept asking
guests to pet her "Kitty", although
she was obviously holding a dog. Hmmm...
 
The "Bird Lady" Barbara G. was
going to go to the "funny farm",
except we needed the eggs.


Notorious international smuggler,
Davidro, was shocked to learn what
was found when authorities did in a
body cavity search -- car keys and a
bottle opener.
 

Mean-spirited Brother A pulled a gun
and made guests twerk.
 
Everybody's Gal Pal, Maureen, loudly
insisted she did not pose for the image
 on the bottle, just before loosing consciousness.
 
"Helmet Head" Rik kept saying,
"That's not a rocket. I'm just
happy to see you."
 
Friendly "Baby Face Angelo", AKA
"Sticky Fingers" sat on everyone's lap
-- even when they were standing.
 
DVdL's beloved Jennifer J was white-hot to dress
as "Officer Bruno" once more...so she eventually
did...and then out came the hand-cuffs...
 
Mind-reader "The Amazing Mr. B"
can glance at a person and immediately
repeat the worst insult they have ever
had.




DVdL: MURDER MYSTERY WORD SEARCH (GAME)


DVdL: MYSTERIOUS PHOTOGRAPH (PHOTOGRAPHY)

DOLCE VITA di LIBRO: MYSTERIOUS PHOTOGRAPH

The photo at left was taken by Dolce Vita di Libro's own Creative Director/Esteemed Member, Brother Andy, who has photographed over 400 models and has a library of over 10,000 images.  The mood of the image is distinctly ominous and could easily inspire a murderous plot for a novel or a who-done-it movie.

DVdL: MURDER MYSTERY CLUB CARTOONS


DVdL: "FILLING THE WINE GLASS TUTORIAL" (VIDEO)


DVdL: "THE SCREAMING SKULL" (MOVIE)


DVdL: FACEBOOK AND TWITTER! (INFORMATION)

DOLCE VITA di LIBRO CAN NOW BE SHARED ON FACEBOOK AND TWITTER!
 
The popularity of the Dolce Vita di Libro blog is growing by the day and the feedback from Esteemed Members -- as part of the book club and on-line Members -- has been amazing! Now, with a click of the button, viewers can share the blog, posts, images, comments and more through facebook and twitter!
 
And, not only that, exciting educational and entertainment projects are in the works to be announced soon!
 
Thanks so much, Esteemed Members!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

DVdL: HALLOWEEN LOGO GIF

Stay tuned for exciting news about our Halloween Party!

DVdL: HOW TO TELL IF WINE HAS GONE BAD (ARTICLE)

DOLCE VITA di LIBRO: HOW TO TELL IF WINE HAS GONE BAD
 
Any who enjoys wine has been in the position of trying to guess whether a bottle of wine has gone "bad".  Is it a matter of "I'll know it when I experience it"?  Or is wine that has "soured" actually a potential health risk?  A large part of "living the good life" is learning about the best and that means weeding out the worst.  Here are some ways to know if the wine you are considering drinking is not worth the effort:
 
1. Smell the wine for signs of oxidation, which occurs when air has gotten into a bottle of wine. Open bottles of wine that have not been stored properly can easily become oxidized and will smell pungent, like vinegar. This smell is easily recognizable once you've smelled it.

2. Look at the cork for signs of corked or corky wine problems. When wine is bottled, the natural cork used in bottling wine can sometimes get wet. If the cork gets wet, it can develop an invisible mold. When the moldy cork is then placed into the wine bottle, the mold actually goes into the wine itself. This will give the wine a musty or cardboard like odor. The wine may even smell like the cork itself.

3. Sniff the wine for a sulfur odor. Wine that has too much sulfur in it can smell like matchsticks or rotten eggs. Wine can have too much sulfur in it due to improper storage or because too much sulfur dioxide was added during the bottling process.
 
4. Check for signs of cooked wine. If wine is stored in warm or hot places such as attics, car trunks or near the stove, it can begin to "cook". Cooked wine will have a brownish tint when poured into a glass. It can also smell caramelized. Bottles of cooked wine may also have corks that appear pushed upwards and partially out of the wine bottle.
 
To find out about wine, Dolce Vita di Libro suggests reading the book "World Atlas of Wines" by Hugh Johnson.

Monday, October 28, 2013

DVdL: TAKE A ONE-DAY ADVENTURE (INFORMATION)

DOLCE VITA di LIBRO: ONE-DAY ADVENTURE FROM PALM SPRINGS TO LA
 
Join the fun and frolic of traveling to one of the most dynamic cities in the counry!  DVdL is proposing a one day field trip adventure to Los Angeles in December (exact date TBA -- near the middle of the month).
 
Esteemed Members (and/or guests) would car pool (with designated drivers) to the World Famous sights such as China Town where Christmas shopping is made exceptionally easy with their one-of-a-kind assortment of goodies from every corner of the globe (and at reasonable prices).
 
Then it's off to where it all happens!  On Melrose Avenue where artist Shepard Fairey's work graces the walls and celebrities are a-dime-a-dozen, the adventurous group would visit the wonderous Aardvark's Vintage Clothing Store and Necromance Oddities Store where any Murder Mystery buff would just DIE to go to. 
 
World-famous Hollywood Costumes is right around the corner -- and a must-see-to-believe experience!
 
If these locations don't suit your fancy, then make a suggest as to where you'd to go and we'll arrange it.  We'll keep you posted as to the developments.

DVdL: BLOG HAS 1,000 VIEWS

DOLCE VITA di LIBRO'S BLOG HAS 1,000 VIEWS

In about a month's time, the Dolce Vita di Libro blog has received the milestone of 1,000 views coming from all over the world on all kinds of technologies. Considering there has been no costs involved and relatively little advertisement, amazingly, there is already hours of fun and intellectual educational and entertainment materials (See the archive).
 
Several Esteemed Members have submitted information and materials, including a wonderful new DVdL logo designed by Esteemed Member Davidro.
 
What's next on the adventure menu?  Stay tuned...
Please leave comments, make suggestions, submit materials and subscribe to both the blog and receive emails about postings and, please, tell your Friends on Facebook about the blog.  Thank you, Esteemed Members!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

DVdL: NEW LOGO DESIGN!

DOLCE VITA di LIBRO'S NEW LOGO DESIGN BY DAVIDRO!
 
Dolce Vita di Libro has a brand new look, thanks to the wonderful donation of the time and talents of Palm Springs artist and Esteemed Member, Davidro.
 
Davidro is a well-known and well-respected fine artist who works in glass, and who is also a successful graphic designer, published author, bowler, and a world-travelor who especially likes to appear on television game shows in wacky outfits.
 
"I love the theatricality of the design," says DVdL's Creative Director and Esteemed Member, Brother Andy.  "It's an amalgamation of styles and ideas -- just as the group itself is."
 
"Davidro has given us all a gift," says Jennifer Johnson DVdL's Co-Founder and Esteemed Member enthusiastically. "The stronger the identity, the stronger the unity, I say. It's a fun design for a fun adventure!"
 
A million thanks to Davidro for making a unique group even more special!

Friday, October 25, 2013

DVdL: HOW TO COOK ANYTHING (INFORMATION)

DOLCE VITA di LIBRO: HOW TO COOK ANYTHING BUTTON
 
A Foodies Paradise! At the bottom of the Dolce Vita di Libro blog is a wonderful submissions button in which our Esteemed Members and Honored Guest Viewers can simply type in any subject or item or ingredient concerning food, push the "How To Cook Anything" button and TA DA! a detailed recipe is magically revealed!
 
"Lettuce" know how it works for you!
 
 

Thursday, October 24, 2013

DVdL: "BLOOD COUNTESS" (AUDIO BOOK)

Photography, makeup, hair, costume, lighting
& Photoshop by Brother Andy. Model: Cora.
DOLCE VITA di LIBRO presents a scary Halloween special audio book reading of "Blood Countess".
 
Where's the food?

DVdL: MUSIC TO READ BY (MUSIC)


DOLCE VITA di LIBRO: MUSIC TO READ BY



Dolce Vita di Libro proudly presents 3 HOURS of non-stop, uninterupted classic 1920s music for your listening pleasure...while reading, while driving or during book club meetings. Here is a list of the performers and songs:
 
Abe Lyman’s California Ambassador Hotel Orchestra - All Alone Am I
Noel Coward - Alice Is At It Again
Al Jolson - I Wonder Why She Kept Saying Si Si Si Senor
Ambassadors - Me And The Man In The Moon
Al Jolson - You Made Me Love You
Bessie Smith - A Good Man Is Hard To Find
Bix Beiderbecke - Fidgetty Feet
Paul Robeson - A Motherless Child
Ethel Waters - They Say
Louis Armstrong - West End Blues
Marnie Smith - Going To Dixieland
Abe Lyman’s California Ambassador Hotel Orchestra - Bugle Call Rag
Al Jolson - Sister Susies Sewing Shirts For Soldiers
Bessie Smith - Alexanders Ragtime Band
Bix Beiderbecke - Clementine
Ethel Waters - You Can’t Stop Me From Loving You
Mostomp
Bix Beiderbecke - Dear Old Southland
Bessie Smith - Trombone Cholly
Fanny Brice - If You Want The Rainbow
Bix Beiderbecke - Black Bottom Stomp
Al Jolson - The Spaniard that Blighted My Life
Al Jolson - Rock A Bye Your Baby
Bucktown 5 - Hot Mittens
Eubie Blake - Charleston Rag
Al Jolson - Swanee
Helen Kane - I Wanna Be Loved By You
Paul Whiteman - The Birth Of The Blues
Bessie Smith - There’ll Be A Hot Time In The Old Town Tonight
Vaughn de Leath - Blue Skies
Paul Robeson - All Gods Chillun Got Wings
Paul Robeson - Amazing Grace
Scott Joplin - Figgy Frank
Bessie Smith - Thinking Blues
Vaughn de Leath - The Man I Love
Ethel Waters - Georgia On My Mind
Bix Beiderbecke - Flock Of Blues
Bessie Smith - Sweet Mistreater
Gene Austen - My Blue Heaven Medley
Fanny Brice - I’d Rather Be Blue
Lee Morse - Yes Sir That’s My Baby
Marion Harris - St Louis Blues
Noel Coward - Dance Little Lady
Ethel Waters - Sweet Georgia Brown
Paul Whiteman - Charleston
Bix Beiderbecke - Basin Street Blues
Ethel Waters - Taking A Chance On Love
Louis Armstrong, Victor Spivey - No Papa No
Louis Armstrong, Bessie Smith - Sobbin hearted blues
Louis Armstrong, Bessie Smith - Washer Woman Blues
Lee Morse - Could, I Certainly Could
Ethel Waters - Take Your Black Bottom Outside
Bix Beiderbecke - Dusky Stevedore
Al Jolson - I’ll Say She Does
Aileen Stanley - I’ll Get By As Long As I Have You
Milenberg Joys
Paul Whiteman - The Best Things In Life Are Free
Gene Austen - Ain’t She Sweet
Billy Murray - Any Little Girl
Fats Waller - You Rascal you
Louis Armstrong - When The Saints Go Marching In
 
 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

DVdL: "COOKING IS NOT A DRAG" (VIDEO)

DOLCE VITA di DIBRO: COOKING IS NOT A DRAG
 
Dolce Vita di Libro presents an off-beat, interesting little cooking class with, uh...someone who is, ummm...not Rachael Ray or Paula Deen. She's more like Julia Child, if Julia Child truly did have b*lls. Perhaps this should be watched as a drinking game where you take a drink everytime she says the word "shrimp".  Enjoy!

DVdL: MEET THE ESTEEMED MEMBER, PEGGY VERMEER

Ms. Vermeer acts in the full-length feature film "The Mummy's Desire" (2013)
which is available to watch on youtube.
DOLVE VITA di LIBRO: MEET THE ESTEEMED MEMBER, PEGGY VERMEER



Palm Springs, California, award-winning artist, vivacious Ms. Peggy Vermeer, 88, has become “Desert Art Royalty” by inspiring generations of artists (as well as those who appreciate art) through decades of dedicated teaching and exhibiting. With a Bachelors of Arts degree from UCLA, she studied at Immaculate Heart College.
 
Having created such diverse works as jewelry, paintings, collages, altered books, and paper-making, and receiving every major juried art honor given in the Coachella Valley, Ms. Vermeer has recently completed provocative post-modern contemporary assemblage sculpture “combines” which integrate several complex media formats -- many using techniques “ahead of their time” -- controversial works (such as "The Gay Buddha" masterpiece) which are seen on websites, on-line books and videos. Innovative, humorous, and thought-provoking, Ms. Vermeer’s work is worthy of the curiosity and appreciation it inspires.
 
In 2013, Ms. Vermeer added "acting" to her resume by appearing in Brother Andy's "Hammer-inspired" feature film, "The Mummy's Desire", in which she humourously played the crotchety owner/manager of a Mexican hotel in the 1940's. Tragically, The Academy failed to recognize her wonderous contributions to the art of cinema with her appearance in this film.

DVdL: SPOTLIGHTS MURDER MYSTERY THEATER (ARTICLE)

DOLCE VITA di LIBRO SPOTLIGHT MURDER MYSTERY THEATER

The Gourmet Detective is a themed interactive comedy entertainment and dining venue featuring murder mysteries. The setting is the age of Film Noir. The production is a stylized and provocative comedy/drama that follows the lives of the ruthlessly competitive men and women of the underworld… “A world where intrigue and mystery are made into an art," the producers say.
 
They are located in Riverside and Newport Beach. 
 
From their website:
 
"We are Southern California’s number-one Murder Mystery Dinner Theater, bar none. We are in our 22nd year in business in Southern California. We win the awards that count. And, finally, we're number one in attendance and murders solved!"

Although they speak of their acclaim and high-quality presentation, from the dull, dated blog postings, poor-quality images, and video presentation, the production values don't look all that "professional" -- though they seem to be trying real hard to put on a show.  Being in business that long says something but what? The question comes to mind: if they are Number One, what's Number Two like? Ticket prices for dinner and the "show": $72 per person.
 
See what it's all about:
 
gourmetdetective.com



 

DVdL: AGATHA CHRISTIE QUOTE AND MOVIE TRAILER (VIDEO)

Dolce Vita di Libro: Agatha Christie Quote And Movie Trailer
 
"I like living. I have sometimes been wildly, despairingly, acutely miserable, racked with sorrow, but through it all I still know quite certainly that just to be alive is a grand thing."
- Agatha Christie
 
Did you know Agatha Christie once "disappeared" for several days in 1926 and that disappearance lead to one of the biggest Missing Person searches in history?
 
Did you see the 1979 movie, "Agatha" with Venessa Redgrave and Dustin Hoffman?  Here's a trailer from that film...
 

DVdL: SECOND MEETING FLIER


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Friday, October 18, 2013

DVdL: MEET THE ESTEEMED MEMBER, JENNIFER JOHNSON

DOLCE VITA di LIBRO: MEET THE ESTEEMED MEMBER, JENNIFER JOHNSON

Vivacious Jennifer Johnson (in photo at left) is the illustrious co-founder of Dolce Vita di Libro, Esteemed Member,  and Chief Instigator. For years, Johnson was a mosaic artist and teacher whose body of work includes public art like the extraordinary "Fountain of Life" water feature at City Hall in Cathedral City.
She, along with co-founder Nedra Young, began Social Mosaics, a non-profit organization with the mission to serve at-risk youth, the ill and elderly in the Palm Springs, California, area.  Jennifer ran art workshops at many venues including Gilda’s Club (for cancer-awareness), public schools and affordable housing sites.





Johnson was the co-owner of Johnson Design Associates during the 1980's which provided interior and architectural design services, bought, rehabbed and sold houses and apartments in San Francisco an the surrounding areas.
 
 
Johnson was a social worker during the 1970's for the San Fancisco Department of Social Services and the Contra Costa County Department of Social Services concentrating on caseloads which included families, children and the elderly in diverse ethnic communities.
 
 
Johnson is also the survivor of an on-going, long-term marriage and three children. "I've risen to the occassion so often, " she says, exhaling, "My knees are starting to go..."
 
 
Nowadays, the gifted Jennifer J. is the living embodiment of what Dolce Vita di Libro represents: intellectual pursuits such as well-written books, sharing experiences, seeing the world, warm embraces with friends, tastey, yet healthy, fine dining, a relaxing glass of the grape, and a murder plot not far from reach.  She's "looking forward to see you at the party..."



Thursday, October 17, 2013

DVdL: SEAL OF APPROVAL

DOLCE VITA di LIBRO SEAL OF APPROVAL
 
The Dolce Vita di Libro Book Club consists of open-minded and sincere Esteemed Members who sincerely look for ways to enjoy life -- including good food, good drinks, good reading, and good times with good friends.  This philosophical way of appreciating the finer things in life extends to all facets of arts and leisure, education and entertainment.  Dolce Vita di Libro has developed a "Seal Of Approval" which means that when you see this emblem, the products or services featured enhance the Dolce Vita di Libro lifestyle in some way -- it's something you might want to know, something you might like to buy, some place you'd might like to go to.  It could be a movie, a book, an eatery, a hotel, a work of art, or a person who is a "character". It has to be fun or why bother?
 
If there is someone, some place, some thing that you'd like to submit for the Dolce Vita di Libro Seal Of Approval, please do so, and we'll present your submission so that others can enjoy what you've discovered.

Monday, October 14, 2013

DVdL: HALLOWEEN GREETING CARD

Please feel free to download and send this free Dolce Vita di Libro Halloween Greeting along to whoever you'd like, perhaps post it on Facebook or print it out for fun!
 
 

DVdL: "I AM...DEAD" (2012) (MOVIE)

Happy Halloween, Esteemed Members!  Please enjoy Dolce Vita di Libro's Creative Director Brother Andy's noir murder-mystery feature film, "I Am...Dead". The film features Esteemed On-line Member Lee Balan as "Mr. Tompkins". Don't watch this while drinking coffee!
 

Sunday, October 13, 2013

DVdL: RECIPE: MADELEINES

DOLCE VITA di LIBRO RECIPE: MADELEINES
SUBMITTED BY ESTEEMED DOLCE VITA di LIBRO MEMBER LOIS GRAZIANO
 
INGREDIENTS:
 
2 eggs 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

3/4/ teaspoon vanilla extract 1 tablespoon lemon zest

1/8 teaspoon salt 1/4 butter

1/3 cup white sugar 1/3 cup sugar for decoration

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Preheat oven to 375 deg F. Butter and flour 12 inch madeleine mold; set aside

2. Melt butter and let cool to room temperature

3. In small mixing bowl, beat eggs, vanilla and salt at a high speed until light

4. Beating constantly, gradually add sugar; continue beating at high speed until mixture is thick and pale and ribbons form in bowl when beaters are lifted, 5-10minutes.

5. Sift flour into egg mixture 1/3 at a time, gently folding after each addition.

6. Add lemon zest and pour melted butter around edge of batter. Quickly but gently fold butter into batter. Spoon batter into molds, it will mound slightly above tops.

7. Bake 14 to 17 minutes (I changed this to 9-11 minutes) or until cakes are golden and the tops spring back when gently pressed with your fingertip.

8. Use the tip of the knife (I just used a small rubber spatula) to loosen madeleines from pan; invert onto rack, immediately sprinkle warm cookies with sugar (I used powdered sugar). Madeleines are best eaten the day they are baked. Leftovers can be wonderful when dunked into coffee or tea.
 
Some reviews I thought were helpful were:

Egg mixture has to be STIFF (beat at least 10 minutes),

Grease pan with Pam and flour or sugar,

Make sure eggs are room temperature.

DVdL: INTERVIEW WITH MARTIN WALKER 2 (ARTICLE)

martinwalkerInterview: Martin Walker, author of The Devil’s Cave (Bruno, Chief of Police series)


Martin Walker is the author of the highly acclaimed Bruno series, and the 5th installment, THE DEVIL’S CAVE, just came out this month! Martin was kind enough to talk about the series, and much more (it’ll make you hungry, and want to go to France)!

You have a rich and distinguished background in editing, journalism, broadcasting, and so much more! You’re also the author of several non-fiction works. Will you tell us a little about what led you to begin writing fiction?
 
Starting to live in the lovely Vézère valley in south-west France, with its prehistoric cave paintings and medieval chateaus and its wonderful food and wine, I felt compelled to write about it. My first novel, The Caves of Perigord, was an attempt to understand and imagine what kind of society could have produced the great cave paintings of Lascaux and what connects us to that time, 17,000 years ago. And then my local policeman became a good friend and tennis partner and I wanted to write about a thoroughly decent man, a local character through whom I could write about today’s world, and Bruno was born.
 
The brand new installment in your Benoît “Bruno” Courrèges series, The Devil’s Cave, just came out! Will you give us a teaser about what’s in store for Bruno?





 The 6th Bruno novel, The Resistance Man, comes out in the U.S. next year. It starts with the reappearance of some World War Two French banknotes, loot from a famous train robber by the Resistance. Then an antique dealer is found murdered and the home of a retired British intelligence chief is burgled, and Bruno faces three parallel investigations and some stunning news from Isabelle.

devilscave

What do you enjoy most about writing the character of Bruno? Is he based on anyone in particular?


He is loosely based on my local policeman, who teaches me to hunt and to cook and with whom I help run the local kids’ rugby teams. Right now we are organizing the village feu de St Jean, a mid-summer night festival when we all bring food and wine and husbands and wives leap hand in hand over the ashes of the bonfire to put behind us all the last year’s rows and arguments and start anew. I really enjoy writing about an old-fashioned hero, a generous and honorable man who knows the difference between the letter of the law and justice.

Will you tell us a little about your writing process and what sort of research you do for the series?
 

Once I have prepared the synopsis, I set myself a target of at least a thousand words, or three pages, every day, no matter what else I am doing. Whether I am traveling or working on another project or attending a conference, I still have to produce those three pages. So the synopsis and research take a long time, often in the Centre Jean Moulin, a big Resistance archive in Bordeaux. For The Devil’s Cave I was in the national archives in Paris, looking up transcripts of interrogations by the Inquisition and accounts of 17th century heresy trials. And I learned a lot about local Resistance activities and life under Nazi occupation by interviewing elderly neighbors over a glass of Monbazillac.
 
Food plays a big part in the Bruno series! What are some of your favorite dishes?
 
The Périgord is the gastronomic heartland of France, famed for its foie gras and truffles and its wildfowl and game, and I love them all. The local cheeses are great and the rivers teem with trout and crayfish. We raise our own chickens and pheasants, and in summer we live from the vegetable garden. So a perfect meal would be fresh tomato and basil soup, made with stock from a duck carcass, followed by foie gras, then some crayfish with home-made mayonnaise. The main course would be blanquette de veau with petit pois from the garden. We’d take a brief pause with a glass of Armagnac before the salad and cheese, and we’d end with a peach plucked straight from the tree and still warm from the sun. I’d serve a glass of chilled Monbazillac with the foie gras, then a Bergerac Sec white from Chateau Jaubertie and a red Pécharmant from Chateau de Tiregand with the veal and the cheese.

bruno

The series’ setting in France is almost a character unto itself, and I’ve read that you live in France part time. What do you love most about living there, and where would you take someone visiting there for the first time?
 
Apart from the climate, the landscape, the food and wine, I love the sense of living amid so much history. The Vézère is the place on earth where we know people have lived continuously for over 70,000 years. So the first stop would be the Lascaux caves and its 17,000-year old paintings. Nobody who sees it will ever again think of cavemen as primitive people. These distant ancestors of ours had an artistic and spiritual sense that is immediately recognizable to us across the millennia. And a visit to Lascaux comes with the realization that it is the urge to create and to respond to art that is uniquely human.
 
You’ve undoubtedly influenced many other mystery writers, but who are some of your biggest influences?
 
As a child, I was entranced by Sherlock Holmes. More recently, I revere John le Carre and Alan Furth, Graham Greene and Colin Dexter. And my old college and friend Christopher Hitchens was a great influence of a different kind; he was best man at our wedding and we miss him still.

When you manage to find some free time, how do you like to spend it?
 

I like to ski in the winter, to play tennis and enjoy the swimming pool in summer, to potter in the vegetable garden, to visit vineyards and to cook.

What’s next for you?
I’m working on a Bruno cookbook with my wife, and on the 7th Bruno novel, in which a mysterious legacy leads back to some Jewish children who were sheltered from the Nazis in Bruno’s town of St Denis, while a young Muslim who was raised in St Denis suddenly turns up at a French army base in Afghanistan.

About THE DEVIL’S CAVE:
It’s spring in St. Denis. The village choir is preparing for its Easter concert, the wildflowers are blooming, and among the lazy whorls of the river a dead woman is found floating in a boat. It’s another case for Bruno, the town’s cherished chief of police. With the discovery of sinister markings and black candles near the body, it seems to him that the occult might be involved. And as questions mount—regarding a troubling real estate proposal in the region; a suspicious, violent death made to look accidental; and the sudden reappearance of a politically controversial elderly countess—Bruno and his colleagues and friends are drawn ever closer to a climactic showdown in the Gouffre de Colombac: the place locals call the Devil’s Cave.
With the enchanting backdrop of France’s pastoral heartland, a cast of local characters as vibrant as their surroundings, enough sumptuous repasts to satisfy any literary gourmand, and a hero winningly capable of balancing the good life with a dogged dedication to solving the crimes that threaten it, The Devil’s Cave invites readers to raise a glass and turn the page.

DVdL: RECIPE: CASSOULET

DOLCE VITA di LIBRO RECIPE: CASSOULET
By Member Jennifer Johnson
 
Cassoulet is a famous peasant dish of the French region of the same name. There are many roads to a fine Cassoulet, in fact three towns in France vie for the best one. This is a dish that always stays on the fire, with more ingredients being added as time goes on. Duck confit is a must and the delicious cassoulet Dolce Vita di Libro member Hunter made had genuine duck confit from France in it. There are cassoulets that are reputed to have been cooking for a few hundred years! There is even one in San Francisco, CA that has been cooking over 14,000 days! This history is a fun part of the lore of the area.
Also, the Dordogne area is home to the oldest continuous habitation of mankind. The famous Caves of Lascaux (Dona's exceptional painting representated that influence at the first Dolce Vita di Libro meeting) were made at least 40,000 years ago, so the inhabitants of St. Denis can be understood when they resist modernity and bureaucracy!
 
The name of the dish comes from the type of container it is usually cooked in. Recipe to come...

DVdL: FIRST MEETING REPORT (ARTICLE)





A visitor could get lost
looking for the
little villages
in France without proper
signage.
DOLCE VITA di LIBRO'S FIRST BOOK CLUB MEETING
The very first book club meeting was held in a private home in Palm Springs, California, October 11, 2013 at 6 pm. A night to remember! There was fantastic food, lots of drinks, wild costumes, crazy props, good friends, and plenty of talk. Everyone had a blast! Host Jennifer Johnson dressed as the main character "Bruno" from the first book selection. The artist Davidro came dressed as a character from the book as well. Original art of the famous pre-historic French cave paintings and a door sign were designed and executed by Dona Nill. Creative Director Brother Andy videotaped and photographed the event.



Here, The Inspector interigates a suspect -- assemblage artist Peggy Vermeer.


 

DVdL: FIRST MEETING (VIDEO)

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DVdL AS SEEN ON CRAIGS LIST (INFORMATION)

NOW EVERYONE CAN SEE WHAT YOU SEE AND READ ALONG
 
The new Dolce Vita di Libro blogsite has now had a respresentational ad on Craig's List in numerous major cities in America: PS, SD, SF, LA, OC, Las Vegas, Imperial Co., Inland Empire, Dallas, and NYC.  Not only that, Dolce Vita di Libro has also appeared in on-line Craig's List ads in cities around the world such as Berlin, Rome, Paris, Toronto and London.
 
Please pass the word along...
 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

DVdL: "PRIME CUT" AUTHOR DIANE MOTT DAVIDSON (VIDEO INTERVIEW)


DVdL: MASTER OF DISGUISE MOVIE PROJECT (ARTICLE)

"DOLCE VITA di LIBRO: MASTER OF DISGUISE" MOVIE PROJECT

Dolce Vita di Libro's own Creative Director, Brother Andy, has written, produced, directed, edited and starred in dozens of motion pictures, videos, television shows, music videos and more.  As part of developing multi-media projects for Dolce Vita di Libro Book Club, Brother Andy would like to create a feature film around the book club, using members as actors and for aid in helping in the project overall. The movie would be set in the 1930's, use numerous split screen and chromo-key effects, plus be heavy on costumes and makeup. The plot of the film would go something like this...

In 1935, several odd people from a book club are invited to the ramshackle mansion of a well-know, but mysterious, 101 year old author to meet him so he can sign their copies of his book -- a book about the gruesome murders of people who are members of a book club.  Fine food is placed on long tables about the house, enticing them to eat.

Immediately, the members grow suspicious of the purpose of why they were called to the mansion, what will become of them...and then one of them disappears...and another...and another.  The group discusses their various secrets as possible motives as to why anyone would want to kill them. They get the ideas that the author is murdering them one-by-one, that he is a Master of Disguised -- and he...or SHE...could be anyone in the room!  In the meantime, the food is disappearing as well, though no one will confess to be eating it.  After making a few of the group strip to their underwear as a precaution, they learn that the author had died days before after sending the invitations...from food poisoning...from the very food they have been eating...and the other guests who disappeared...were in the bathroom.

The End.