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Alina K. Field October Featured Author

October 1, 2020 by in category Featured Author of the Month tagged as , , ,

Alina K. Field

October Featured Author


Award winning author Alina K. Field earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English and German literature, but her true passion is the much happier world of romance fiction. Though her roots are in the Midwestern U.S., after six very, very, very cold years in Chicago, she moved to Southern California and hasn’t looked back. She shares a midcentury home with her husband, her spunky, blonde, rescued terrier, and the blue-eyed cat who conned his way in for dinner one day and decided the food was too good to leave.

She is the author of several Regency romances, including the 2014 Book Buyer’s Best winner, Rosalyn’s Ring. She is hard at work on her next series of Regency romances, but loves to hear from readers!

Visit Alina

In addition to Quarter Days, Alina’s quarterly column’s on A Slice of Orange, you can visit her at:


Books by Alina K. Field

ADVENGING THE EARL’S LADY

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ADVENGING THE EARL’S LADY

A LEAP INTO LOVE

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A LEAP INTO LOVE

CHRISTMAS KISSES

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CHRISTMAS KISSES
FATED HEARTS: A Love After All Retelling of the Scottish Play

HAUNTING MISS FENWICK

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HAUNTING MISS FENWICK

LILIANA’S LETTER

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LILIANA’S LETTER

MARRYING MR. GIBSON

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MARRYING MR. GIBSON
MISTLETOE & MAYHEM: A REGENCY HOLIDAY ROMANCE ANTHOLOGY

ROMANCING THE PAGES

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ROMANCING THE PAGES

ROSALYN’S RING

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ROSALYN’S RING

STORM & SHELTER

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STORM & SHELTER

THE COUNTERFEIT LADY

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THE COUNTERFEIT LADY

THE GHOST OF DEPFORD HALL

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THE GHOST OF DEPFORD HALL

THE MARQUESS AND THE MIDWIFE

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THE MARQUESS AND THE MIDWIFE

THE ROGUE’S LAST SCANDAL

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THE ROGUE’S LAST SCANDAL

THE VISCOUNT’S SEDUCTION

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THE VISCOUNT’S SEDUCTION
WINTER WISHES: A REGENCY HOLIDAY ROMANCE ANTHOLOGY

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Happy Fall… Or is it autumn?!

September 28, 2020 by in category Quarter Days by Alina K. Field, Writing tagged as , , , ,

A Quarter Days’ Post

Greetings! I’m back for my quarterly post about various and sundry things related to writing historical fiction.

In my last post I talked about the delights of playing with words and creating Tom Swifties.

Today I’m talking about the difference between English and English, as in American vs. British.

Is it fall? Or is it autumn? More on that later.

What’s in your tool kit? 

Words are the building blocks we writers and speakers use to create story. We start hoarding those blocks early, and the resulting vocabulary says much about our own personal settings—where we grew up, what our social milieu is, what our family is like.

A case in point—my grandkids’ first words. We waited with bated breath for each munchkin’s first spoken vocabulary word. I coached them repeatedly (and unsuccessfully) to say “mama”.

But for both of them the first word was… DOG! (Yes, we do love our dogs.)

Fledgling writers

are taught “write what you know”. I wonder why? It’s a lot more fun to step outside the known world. But it does lead to challenges.

The biggest challenge: You don’t know what you don’t know

For a 21st century American like me trying to set a story in Georgian England, there are a million opportunities to err.

First there’s the issue of etymology. Was a word used during this story’s time period?

A couple of examples from a Regency first draft I was beta reading for a friend:

  • Hooligan: a great word, right? Unfortunately it dates to the 1890s.
  • Foyer: Sadly, this dates to 1859.

And a couple from my own first drafts:

  • Merry Widow: as my editor pointed out, this phrase references Franz Lehar’s operetta’s English title from 1907. Just a tad later than the Regency!!!
  • Shack: Not only is this a later word (1878) but it’s of American or Canadian origin.

Which brings up another potential pitfall for the fledgling Regency Romance author.

American vs. British

Americans and Brits may speak the same language, but we use different words.

I’m fortunate to work often with an editor in England, and so I’ve compiled my own list of Americanisms for my own pre-editing purging.

Some more examples:

This very funny post from a British writer complete with illustrations.

And a list of 60 American English words translated into British English.

Spelling and punctuation are different too.

Once, long ago, while reading one of Georgette Heyer’s books, I wondered why they kept writing “cosy” instead of “cozy”. Why had so many misspellings slipped past the editor?

The British spelling was different enough to make it a jarring read for this ignorant and unaware American who happens to be a good speller. Fortunately, I’m wise to them now.

There are also punctuation differences. Here’s a short post about some of those.  

And a long one about spelling differences.

I don’t believe Regency readers will pillory an author over this issue, so I’ve settled on using American spelling and punctuation in my stories.

One might say, in this area at least, I’m writing what I know!

Do you suppose we’ll ever go “one-world” on the spelling and punctuation rules?

Happy fall (and autumn) to everyone, and I’ll be back in December!

Images credits: autumn leaves and dog are from Stencil (I’d happily claim that dog though!); image of words is from Wikimedia Commons.

 

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Tom Swifties and the Art of the Dialogue Tag

June 28, 2020 by in category Quarter Days by Alina K. Field, Writing tagged as , ,

One of the rules of contemporary fiction is that all words ending in -ly ought to be found in a Word search and banished.

Another rule is to avoid using substitutes for said: no murmurs, grunts, hisses, etc.

But it wasn’t always this way!

In what I always think of as the Golden Age of pulp fiction, an author might get away with a Tom Swifty. Though I have a degree in English and I’ve been to countless writing conferences, I only just learned this term from one of Anne R. Allen’s blog posts.

So what is a Tom Swifty?

In case you don’t have time to link to the Merriam-Webster article here’s the definition:

“A Tom Swifty is a play on words taking the form of a quotation ascribed to Tom and followed by an adverb.”

Or, as Wikipedia says, it’s

“a phrase in which a quoted sentence is linked by a pun to the manner in which it is attributed.”

Tom Swift

Edward Stratemeyer,
A “punny” guy

First published in 1910, the Tom Swift books spanned multiple series, and were written by Edward Stratemeyer and other authors under the pseudonym Victor Appleton. Stratemeyer was also the creator of the Hardy Boys, Bobbsey Twins, and Nancy Drew books.

I haven’t read Tom Swift, but I grew up with Nancy Drew. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have as many successful book series as Edward Stratemeyer?

Another famous author of commercial fiction used this sort of “punny” literary device: Charles Dickens. Ah, the good old days when authors could have more fun.

Examples, please…

A whole book has been written on the subject, Tom Swifties, by Paul Pease and Bill McDonough. The few copies available start at $40 on Amazon!

But, the Wikipedia article on the subject has a long list of howlers like these:

  • “I love hot dogs,” said Tom with relish.
  • “I forgot what I needed at the store,” Tom said listlessly.
  • “I have no flowers,” Tom said lackadaisically.

I could see these working in a humorous cozy mystery!

Do you have a favorite Tom Swifty? Share in the comments below!

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Women in Banking #WomensHistoryMonth

March 28, 2020 by in category Quarter Days by Alina K. Field

Welcome to my quarterly blog at A Slice of Orange!

We’re living in interesting times, and I was tempted to write a post about historical plagues and pandemics… But, if you’re like me, you’re heartily sick of hearing about them.

So, since March is Women’s History Month in the U.S., I’m sharing a gem of a book I found about women bankers.

Women Who Made Money: Women Partners in British Private Banks 1752-1906 , by Margaret Dawes and Nesta Selwyn

Regency romance enthusiasts will know the story of Sarah Sophia Fane Child Villiers, Countess of Jersey and one of the patronesses of Almack’s. Sarah inherited a partnership in Child’s Bank, and became an active participant in the bank’s management until her death in 1867. (Her mother, also named Sarah, had been cut out of the will after her scandalous elopement to Gretna Green with the Earl of Westmoreland!)

Lady Jersey

But, you ask, didn’t the law say that all of a woman’s property became her husband’s upon marriage?

The authors explain how some women, either through the wisdom of enlightened parents or their own power as widows managed this:

The law has always offered loop-holes. Provision could be made in her marriage settlement for a woman to retain the use of her own property . . . It was also possible for a woman’s property to be placed in the hands of trustees before her marriage, so that her husband could have no use of it without her consent.

The Marriage Settlement, by William Hogarth

Marriage settlements were extremely important financial and legal agreements negotiated by wealthy parties prior to marriage. Today, we call those “pre-nups”.

Middle-class Country Bankers

The book includes the stories of Lady Jersey and Harriet Mellon Coutts, an actress who inherited her husband’s interest in Coutts Bank and went on to marry the Duke of St. Albans (and still retain ownership of her wealth). But most of the seventy-six women bankers were solidly middle-class.

Campion Bank House, Originally the banking house of Margaret and Robert (her son) Campion, founded in 1800, Courtesy geograph.org.uk 

Many women established country banks with husbands or sons. Some inherited banks. Many also engaged alone or with husbands in other types of commerce, such as shipping, mining, or manufacturing.

And you won’t find most of these women mentioned in Wikipedia!

If you’re interested in a chronicle of women in business in the eighteenth and nineteenth century, you might enjoy this book.

Wishing you much good health until we meet again in June!

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Happy Holidays!

December 28, 2019 by in category Quarter Days by Alina K. Field tagged as ,

I’m back with my Quarter Days’ post!

If you celebrated Christmas a few days ago, I hope you had a merry one with family and friends. And if you’re in the midst of celebrating the eight days of Hanukkah, well, my wish for you is the same!

Which reminds me of a story my sister once shared. She was lamenting about having to choose and buy Christmas gifts for her three kids. The doctor she worked with said, “Ha! Try having to buy one gift for each night of Hanukkah for each of my three kids.” (Maybe it’s not obvious, but this was a mom-doctor, not a dad-doctor.)

Something different

Today, instead of talking about historical traditions related to the Yuletide, I wanted to share Of The Book, a new anthology–not fuzzy-feeling-inducing holiday romances, but scary, raise-the-hair-on-your-neck stories.

In a word, horror! And more specifically stories rooted in Jewish folklore.

I’m especially excited that this anthology includes a chilling story by my niece, Hadley Scherz-Schindler. (Proud aunt here!) More on her contribution, “The Baby Naming” below.

A Re-emerging Genre

Around the time I was planning this post, I received an email about a new marketing report from Alex Newton founder and proprietor of the book analytics firm, K-Lytics.

Alex has just published his first ever Horror Fiction report. He often has his finger on the pulse of the market, and he’s seen a surge of interest in straight up horror fiction. I wish that the late Joyce Ward, who once told me she loved writing Horror, was around to take advantage of this trend.

In any case, if you’re a fan of the genre, here’s a bit about the anthology:

Of The Book

For nearly 6000 years the Jewish people have been gathering stories. Stories of sheydim and golem. Stories of heroes and monsters.

For as long as the People of the Book have been, they have been storytellers. Gathered here are tales of contemporary Jewish folklore. Frightening, supernatural, uplifting and upsetting. These Jewish writers took old tropes, legends and concepts of an ancient faith and spun it into something incredible and new. From across the diaspora, they gather in Of The Book.

The blurb for “The Baby Naming”, by Hadley Scherz-Schindler

A distant Lithuanian cousin, a scholar of the Kabbalah, crashes the naming ceremony for little baby Rachel, sharing a warning about a family curse, and the sacrificial requirement to defeat the demon. But will the exhausted parents heed the warning? And what will happen if they don’t?

Short and scary, I loved this story! I’m dipping into the other eleven hair-raising tales as I get up the nerve.

Buy Link: https://www.amazon.com/Book-Corners-World-1-ebook/dp/B08286LC3M

About Hadley Scherz-Schindler

Hadley Scherz-Schindler grew up in St. Louis, Missouri, a city full of music, barbeque and ghosts. She converted to Judaism when she married into a family of rabbis and has four children who drift between college, grad school and home. Hadley still lives in St. Louis with her husband, Josh, and their collie, Frodo. 

Wishing you many blessings for 2020! I’ll be back for a new Quarter Days post in March!

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