Imagine Classic Literary Characters living in the Modern World. Read Jane Eyre Gets Real, a Novel by Annabelle Troy, available on Amazon!

Not Your Grandmother’s Fairy Tale

Product DetailsCelebrate Halloween with spooky ebook avail. on Amazon.

Hansel and Gretel Inside the House of Candy is free from Oct. 27-Oct. 31.

Set in contemporary LA, NYC and some scary forest, a teenage brother and sister escape their scheming father–only to find a beautiful witch is out to get them. Gretel must save Hansel but can she do so without paying a terrible price?

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That Old Black Cat Magic

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Alice in Wonderland, a character in Jane Eyre Gets Real by Annabelle Troy, is missing her cat Dinah. When Alice was plucked from her book and made to live in contemporary NYC, beloved Dinah was left behind. So Alice went to an animal shelter to adopt a cat. She fell in love with a vivacious green-eyed kitten, but because it had black fur the agency suggested she adopt in November. Many animal shelters don’t let black cats get adopted right before Halloween; too many people use them as living decorations, abandoning them after the holiday; or they can be cruelly used for pranks. For the latter reason, it is suggested that if you already own a black cat, keep him/her inside around Oct. 31st.

Contrary to popular belief, the “unlucky” black cat is not discriminated against when it comes to adoption. It’s simply that more black cats exist than white, gray, or brown ones.  According to the ASPCA black cats represent 31% of all feline adoptions annually, followed by gray then brown cats. However, black-coated animals show age more quickly; silver hairs show up easily on that color of fur, the same way dark-haired women have to dye their roots more often! When it comes to taking a selfie with black cats, they can be hard to photograph. Non-professionals may find the black cat comes out like a dark blot, while the fur of a lighter-colored cat catches the light. (Fair is always easier to photograph which is why early Hollywood preferred blondes with pink skin tones over “exotic” types.)

While medieval black cats were historically accused of being “familiars”, messengers who traveled at night between the witch and the devil, some cultures have revered them. In ancient Egypt black cats were thought to bring their owners good luck, which is still considered to be the case in modern Japan and parts of Britain. In fact there is an Old English rhyme that goes:

Black cat, cross my path
Good fortune bring to home and hearth
When I am away from home
Bring me luck wherever I roam


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Very Victorian Halloween Problems

The witching season is upon us. Mr. Darcy, Sherlock Holmes, Dorian Gray and the other characters in Jane Eyre Gets Real by Annabelle Troy present this to you with their compliments:

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Ghosts were really aggressive back then

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You Only Have Enough Crumpets For Three But Uninvited Guests Keep Dropping By

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All You Want Is A Nice Family Photo But Mum Keeps Being Difficult

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Stop Trying to Make “How Hallow’eeny” Happen, It’s Not Going to Happen

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Stiff Competition for Miss Witch USA


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Your Wife Is Dead Yet She Still Insists On Playing The Piano

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Email Hasn’t Been Invented So You Receive All Messages Via Ghoul

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Even Less Reliable Than Online Dating

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Please Write Your Own Caption & Let Us Know What You Come Up With!

Happy Halloween


Season of the Clown

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Warning: This Post is Not for Those Who Suffer from Coulrophobia–You Know Who You Are!

Dozens of creepy clown sightings have been reported in the United States this summer. The disturbing phenomena started over a month ago when children in South Carolina began to see clowns lurking around; these costumed men tried to lure kids deep into the woods with promises of candy. Since then clown sightings, reported in several states, have led to over 12 arrests. On September 25th, in Reading, Pennsylvania, a man wearing a clown mask stabbed and killed a 16 year old. The clown got away. Also this week, in Upstate New York, clowns have been seen standing on suburban streets and peering into windows. As Halloween approaches, will this epidemic worsen?

David Copperfield, who appears in the recent novel Jane Eyre Gets Real, available on Amazon, used to love clowns as a boy. At that time they were more of a novelty than a nuisance. Though clowns are historical figures who played parts in Egypt, Ancient Rome, the Middle Ages and Renaissance Italy, they are best known to us as “circus folk.” The circus as we know it began, like so many things, in the Victorian era. The antecedent for the Victorian model was Phillip Astley’s Riding Show, which debuted in 1768, and featured expert horsemen performing equestrian acts in a tight circle ringed by a comfortably seated audience. Later jugglers, tumblers and, yes, clowns were added to the act.

Astley’s first well-known clown was Mr. Merryman. Wearing white-based makeup with an expression painted on, attired in striped hose and a doublet with a frilled collar, Merryman delivered a comic performance by allowing himself to be “knocked about” by the experienced riders. Other types of clowns soon flourished, including “The Boss Clown”who typically wore sequins, a conical hat, and thrived at doing magic tricks and playing a variety of musical instruments. The “Auguste Clown”–a red-nosed figure in baggy pants and huge shoes, would pass into American TV land as “Bozo.” It is now these “Bozos” or red-nosed clowns who are popping up all over, terrorizing the kids they are meant to entertain.

On a lighter note, David Copperfield highly recommends the FX show “Baskets.” On this insightful comedy, Zach Galifianakis poignantly portrays Chip Baskets, a man from California who travels to Paris, intent on learning the fine art of professional clowning. However, he must leave the elite clown school when it is discovered he cannot speak French. Back home in Bakersfield, Chip gets a job as a clown at a run-down rodeo and tries the best he can to maintain his artistic standards in a mundane world. “Baskets” which premiered January 2016, will resume with new episodes early in 2017. It’s as quirky, engaging and heartfelt as any novel by Mr. Charles Dickens.

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That Ambitious Girl

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Polls show that Hillary Clinton has a problem with likeability. Part of this can be attributed to her formal persona in a world that craves intimacy, personal revelations, and “sharing.” Another factor is her gender: it is certainly true that social media depicts ambitious women in a bad light. This goes double for girls.

Alice in Wonderland, despite her airy persona, was a rebel. She goes down the rabbit hole in the first place, leading to her famous adventures, because she is energetic, curious and tired of making daisy chains. In Jane Eyre Gets Real, a novel by Annabelle Troy, Alice finds herself in contemporary NYC. She is at first confused, then dismayed, to find that girls aren’t really viewed that differently now. OK, they are allowed to be overtly sexual, promiscuous, badly behaved–but focused and organized??? That is still taboo.

The character of Rachel Berry, portrayed by Lea Michelle in the highly popular TV show Glee, is a case in point. Rachel knows from early days that she wants to be a Broadway star. She perfects her craft and lets nothing stand in her way (she never does anything evil to get what she wants, she simply pursues her goal with great determination). Through a series of twists and turns, Rachel does finally become a Broadway star–in a hit musical entitled Jane Austen Sings! Ironically–or not–the actress who plays Rachel has been accused of being stand-offish, egotistical, and all-business. It is said Lea Michelle doesn’t mingle enough with her fans and that she concentrates more on her career than on her co-stars or social life.

Inspiration for the Rachel Berry character was rumored to stem from the 1999 movie Election, starring Matthew Broderick and a very young Reese Witherspoon. A fresh and biting comedy, Election shows the politics behind a small town high school election. Reese plays Tracy Flick, Hillary before there was a Hillary, who has set her mind on being class president. Matthew Broderick is the mild-mannered teacher in opposition to her; mediocre himself, Tracy’s larger than life ambition frightens him. He fixes the election so that his own favorite student, a friendly, athletic but rather stupid boy, wins instead. Tracy, however, has the last triumph. Yes, there is something funny in Tracy’s passion: her mom writes to famous women, including Connie Chung, to get career advice for her daughter; Tracy gets up at 4 am to bake cupcakes iced with the words Pick Flick; and at one point in the film, enraged at having serious competition, she unfairly tears down her opponent’s campaign postures. Though talented and attractive, she has no real friends and is even called the c-word by one of the other (female) characters. A girl with no father, from a poor background, she earns everything she has and is bitterly disappointed when, at her dream school Georgetown, she finds not driven students, but spoiled rich kid stoners and slackers. Tracy is not perfect and she can be ridiculous at times–but aren’t we all? Why is Tracy singled out for hate-laced mocking by peers and faculty alike? Why are they so threatened by her?

Let’s recap: we have a privileged, wealthy, thoughtless male running for president and a goal-driven committed female. He shows up with a lot of rhetoric–and baseball caps–and garners a huge amount of support; she doesn’t curry favor, has proven experience but undisguised intelligence and a blunt manner. We are, of course, talking about the movie Election. Any semblance to any real election is purely coincidental!

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Very Victorian Problems

Brought to you by Jane Eyre. She’s a character in Annabelle Troy’s novel available on Amazon, Jane Eyre Gets Real. Oh, and Charlotte Bronte wrote about her too.

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You spill milk but have used all the rags curling your hair.

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Your doll’s wardrobe costs more than yours.

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You need three people to help you get dressed in the morning–and you don’t like two of them.

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You can only wear all black when someone dies.


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Your crinoline doubles as a birdcage.


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Your skirt WILL catch on fire. But you can use your cloak to put it out.


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Your friends are as beautiful as you are.

Sherlock Holmes & The Mystery of Ponyhenge

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On a grassy field in the town of Lincoln, Massachusetts rocking horses keep appearing. They started showing up on the field as early as 30 years ago, when kids used to run a lemonade stand there. The stand vanished but the horses stayed and their number has steadily grown, as if the wooden steeds are reproducing themselves. (Actually, not all the horses are wooden. There are also plastic models.) As of 9/2016, more than 30 hobby horses stand in Lincoln, arranged in a semi-circle. They have been given the name of “Ponyhenge.” At Christmas lights are draped around them. Sometimes they are rearranged to look like a static merry-go-round without music or motion. At other times, like the Kentucky Derby, they are put into “racing” positions. No one knows who originally placed them there or who moves them. For the locals it’s like a community art project, tinged with the allure of mystery. Nobody ever steals or damages the horses. Their population is always replenished, never decreased.

Sherlock Holmes, a character in Annabelle Troy’s novel Jane Eyre Gets Real, has spent hours mulling over Ponyhenge. He has ruled out bored housewives, drugged-out kids, former carnival owners, even space aliens. Just this morning he came up with a solution. Holmes knows precisely who is behind the hobby horse circle and their motive. So here it is–but wait! Sherlock has been known to keep secrets even from Dr. Watson and Queen Victoria. It has occurred to him that the lovely wooden and plastic horses so artlessly arranged, protected within their circle as if by magic, should stay a mystery. Alone, each horse is only a discarded piece of junk. But together they form a hopeful message of beauty, unity and delight. As only the greatest detectives know, some mysteries are better left unsolved.

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All Choked Up

Supposedly the choker trend which swept New York Fashion Week is a reflection of nostalgia for the 90’s–that’s the 1990s. Jane Eyre finds it ridiculous that a decade only twenty-five years in passing, and an insipid one at that, should already be inspiring regret. However, she is pleased that chokers are popular again–as they were during her own day. Indeed, chokers have been worn by women–and men–since ancient times. The first piece of jewelry may well have been some caveman’s choker made from shells and teeth! Chokers became especially notable as a fashion statement during the 18th century French Revolution; noblewomen who had escaped the guillotine sported red ribbons tied around their throats, both to honor their slain friends and relatives and as a kind of f–k you to Robespierre.

All the women in Jane Eyre Gets Real, the whimsical novel by Annabelle Troy, available on Amazon, deserve a choker. Here’s what they picked from today’s hottest looks:

Hester Prynne: We all know ornaments were forbidden in Puritan times. But the occasional bonnet or collar might be tied with a bit of black ribbon. In memory of this, Hester wants a wide black leather choker:

Soft Black Leather Choker Adjustable Necklace

Jane Eyre goes for the sentimental look of her youth:

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You know Emma Bovary is all about the drama:

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Alice in Wonderland shows that chokers can be innocent and charming:

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Even Heidi gets into the act with a girlish, faux tattoo style:

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So, whether you choose classic, bright, metallic or just an old velvet ribbon you have in a drawer, remember that fall, 2016 is the time to stick your neck out.



Child’s Play


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Is childhood a real psychological state or simply a creation of society–and a sentimental one at that? We tend to take for granted that children think and feel differently than adults, as well as that they exist in a better, purer realm. But throughout society this has not been the case. In the medieval ages, and before, children were treated like incomplete, somewhat defective adults. Only in the 18th century did ideas about kids undergo a significant change. Largely responsible for this was philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau who equated children with nature and innocence; he believed education should be linked not just to knowledge, work and social duties but to preserving what was untainted in the soul.

Childhood really got going in the Victorian era (1837-1901). Queen Victoria and her consort Prince Albert had nine children and idealized the idea of family. Though poor children often lead horrible lives, working at very early ages in mills and as chimney sweeps and unpaid servants, life for rich kids included nannies, toy soldiers, rocking horses, wax dolls, even elaborate toy shops complete with tiny goods for sale.  Lewis Carroll wrote Alice in Wonderland in 1865 and it quickly became one of the most popular children’s stories–though how many kids today could read it (in its real, un-Disney form?). Picture books illustrated by Kate Greenaway, Walter Crane and William Nicholson were full of charming pictures of rosy-cheeked “good” little children indulging in ring-around-the rosy, hopscotch and hoop bowling. All of this perpetuated the idea–maybe a fantasy?–that children–at least those of wealthy parentage–inhabited their own reality, free from worry or any true unhappiness.

Later on, Freudian theories of burgeoning infant sexuality would dispel the notion of pre-pubescent innocence and upset the kinder applecart. Psychological tales such as The Bad Seed and Lillian Hellman’s The Children’s Hour, in which spoiled little girls deliberately lie and ruin the lives of their caretakers, would perpetrate the image of kids as potential demons, hiding behind frilly skirts, knee socks and toys. Long before Freud, Jane Eyre speaks up to her Aunt Reed, accusing her of of unkindness and hypocrisy in a manner the early Victorians found shocking. She was a passionate child, a rebel, daring to be heard–and cruelly punished for it. Heidi, written by Johanna Spyri in 1881, decades after Jane Eyre, reverts back to an earlier prototype: a joyous child brings delight and miraculous health to all those who know her, simply by existing.

Which idea of childhood do you find the most compelling? Are children miniature grown-ups struggling with many of the same problems as their parents, albeit in different forms? Or did they exist in their own universe, discrete and uncorrupted (at least before they get on the internet?).

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