A Slice of Orange


Alina K. Field July Featured Author

July 1, 2024 by in category Featured Author, Featured Author of the Month tagged as , ,
Alina K. Field | A Slice of Orange

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 Midwest, after six very, very, very cold years in Chicago, she moved to Southern California where she shares a midcentury home with two furry four-legged girls and keeps a dependable stash of lollipops for the munchkins in her life.

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


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


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Night Vision

June 30, 2024 by in category Quill and Moss by Dianna Sinovic, Writing tagged as , ,

The night the eyes appeared in the window for the fourth time was the night Casie moved to the guest room, leaving Benjamin to sleep alone in the master.

He laughed at her the next morning. “You were dreaming. There’s nothing out there but a few deer, maybe a raccoon.”

She stirred sugar into her coffee and frowned. “They were glowing—the eyes.” She shivered at the memory, now running on a loop through her brain. “Our bedroom needs blinds or drapes—something to give us privacy.”

The floor-to-ceiling windows looked out on a dramatic hillside of wildflowers, studded with hemlock and pine, a captivating view during the daylight hours. But at night, the blackness beyond the glass made her uneasy. 

“The eyes were … glowing?” He chuckled. “Some dream, sweets.” He drained his mug and shoved back from the table. “See you tonight.”

She noted that he’d ignored her request. 

They both loved the light, airy feel of the house. The wood floors, the kitchen with its cute eating nook, the guest room tucked into the second story—every aspect said this was a place they would be happy in.

And they had been, over the last seven months since moving in. 

Until the eyes.

Casie slept lightly on a good night, and tossed and turned on a bad one. Benjamin barely stirred on his side of the bed, even during fierce thunderstorms that had her wide-eyed until the last rumble receded.

A month ago, as summer burst onto the hillside behind the house, Casie saw the eyes for the first time. Benjamin had been out of town and she was reading in bed. She sensed that someone was watching her, but the darkness beyond the windows showed nothing; the shine from the bedside lamp masked any details. Switching off the light, she waited for her vision to adjust. 

There, about four feet off the ground, a pair of golden eyes glowed.

With a yelp of fear, Casie fled the room. She spent the next three nights that Benjamin was away lying on the living room couch, the drapes drawn, willing herself to sleep. During the day, she struggled to sit for more than a few minutes at her laptop. She had an article to write, but couldn’t concentrate, jiggling her foot, pacing through the house, stopping to study the yard from the master bedroom’s windows. The hillside beyond was benign, peaceful, lush and green.

When her partner returned, Casie weighed how to tell him what had happened but ultimately opted to say nothing. She began to discount what she’d seen. Had there been something staring at her? Their property was far from any neighbor—that was one of its appeals. An animal—even a bear—posed no threat as long as it stayed on the other side of the glass.

Benjamin was back home for a week before she next spotted the eyes. They had made love in the dark, then turned away from each other to sleep, he facing away from her—and the windows. 

She muffled a gasp at the golden eyes, this time positioned higher up, maybe five or six feet from the ground. 

“Sweets, what’s wrong?” he mumbled, already drifting into dreamland. 

The eyes held their position and slowly blinked. Casie pulled a pillow over her head and closed her eyes. It’s outsideoutside, outside. She repeated the mantra silently to herself. 

The third night she saw them, she woke Benjamin.

“Something’s out there,” she whispered.

“Where?” He propped himself up in bed. 

The eyes, which had appeared only a few feet off the ground, faded away.

“Never mind,” she said. 

Sleep would be futile that night, but she took comfort in Benjamin’s soft snoring beside her.


Over a dinner of chicken salad, Casie listened to Benjamin recount his day. When it was her turn, she sighed. Her stomach felt as tightly coiled as an overwound watch, with her jiggling left foot the ticking second hand.

“I got nothing done today.” She stabbed a chunk of chicken with her fork. “It’s the weird eyes—I am so freaked out I can’t sit still.”

He shook his head. “This is how you get me to do what you want about those damn windows, isn’t it?”

 “I’m not making it up.” 

He carried his plate to the sink. “Here’s what I’ll do. When we’re ready for bed, I’ll go out, scout around with a flashlight, make sure we’re safe.” The way he said safe carried a whiff of belittlement.

True to his promise, Benjamin made a show of traipsing through the grasses and wildflowers that grew near the house, while Casie watched from the bedroom. He swept a high-power flashlight across the area, then stepped back inside the room through the glass door. 

“Not a spooky thing out there, sweets.” 

“Whatever,” she said, resigned that he would never believe her.

At his suggestion, they traded sides in the bed that night; he would sleep closer to the windows.

Perhaps it was that switch, or the effect of her emotional exhaustion, but she fell into a deep sleep almost immediately.

When she woke later, her phone said it was nearly two-thirty. In the dimness of the bedroom, she grasped two things: Benjamin was not in bed, and the glass door to the outdoors hung open. 

“Benjamin?” she called, but softly, now aware of yet a third thing: The glowing eyes were in the room with her.

The following anthologies contain some of Dianna’s short stories:

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Featured Author: Denise M. Colby

June 29, 2024 by in category Apples & Oranges by Marianne H. Donley, Featured Author of the Month tagged as , , , , ,

Denise M. Colby loves to write words that encourage, enrich, and engage whether it’s in her blog, social media, magazine articles, or devotions. With over 20+ years’ experience in marketing, she enjoys using her skills to help other authors.

Denise Colby |The Writing Journey

She treasures the written word and the messages that can be conveyed when certain words are strung together. She, being an avid journal writer, is often seen with a pen and notepad whenever she reads God’s word. Denise is writing her first Christian Historical Romance Series, and you can find her at www.denisemcolby.com

Denise is a member of OCRW, Faith, Hope & Love Christian Writers, ACFW (where she was a semi-finalist in the Genesis contest Historical Romance Category), OC Chapter of ACFW, and Novel Academy.

You can read Denise’s column The Writing Journey on A Slice of Orange, or follow her on Facebook or Instagram. You can also sign-up for her newsletter.

Big news for Denise!

Denise’s debut novel, When Plans Go Awry, won the Grand Prize in the Scrivenings Press #GetPubbed Contest for 2023, placing 1st place in the Historical category. It is the first of four books in this series being published by Scrivenings Press.

When Plans Go Awry

Denise M. Colby
ISBN: 978-1-64917-391-1
June 4, 2024

Olivia Carmichael escapes her past to become the next schoolmarm in the small ranching community of Washton, California. Her plan? Live a quiet spinster life alone, never to depend on anyone again.

Luke Taylor selected a mail-order bride to help raise his two younger sisters and protect his broken heart. His plans don’t include being responsible for the beautiful new schoolmarm, who threatens his resolve between his need to stay away and his need to ensure her safety.

Along the way, Olivia’s carefully laid-out plans are challenged at every turn, and Luke’s mail-order bride is not what he expected.

With the help of the entire town and its wily rooster, can Luke and Olivia learn to trust again?

 Denise M. Colby’s Books

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The High Road/The Low Road

June 28, 2024 by in category Quarter Days by Alina K. Field tagged as , , , , ,

The Bonny Shores of Loch Lomond

Welcome to another Quarter Days’ Post

I celebrated the summer solstice a few days early with the release of my latest novel, A Wallflower’s Midsummer Night’s Caper, Book 15 in the multi-author Revenge of the Wallflowers series. More on that below, but first…

Midsummer in the far north

A visit to Scotland has been on my bucket list, and I was finally able to get there a few weeks ago. It’s a country of dramatic landscapes and many, many, many castles. Here’s one of the abandoned ones:

photo of Dunnottar Castle in Scotland
Dunnottar Castle

The rainy weather made for dramatic vistas and cloud formations.

A photo of the fairy pools on the Island of Skye in Scotland
The fairy pools of Skye

Everywhere we went, folks asked if we’d watched the series, Outlander, based on the books by Diana Gabaldon.

While Outlander has been a definite boon to their tourist industry, it seemed to me that many of the people we talked to really do treasure their proud, defiant past. They’ve moved on from tragedies but they haven’t entirely forgotten them.

The Culloden battlefield museum commemorates the Highlanders’ defeat by the British in 1746. What followed that battle was an attempt by the victors to destroy the Highland way of life.

Concerned about another rebellion by Highlanders, the British banned Highland dress and bagpipes. It would be years before author Walter Scott popularized Highland life again in his novel Waverley.

The High Road/The Low Road

By yon bonnie banks and by yon bonnie braes,
Where the sun shines bright on Loch Lomond,
Where me and my true love were ever wont to gae,
On the bonnie, bonnie banks o’ Loch Lomond.

O ye’ll tak’ the high road, and I’ll tak’ the low road,
And I’ll be in Scotland afore ye,
But me and my true love will never meet again,
On the bonnie, bonnie banks o’ Loch Lomond.

A photo of Loch Lomond in Scotland
Loch Lomond

After Culloden, not all captured rebels faced execution. Some were allowed to return to Scotland to share descriptions of the terrible punishment meted out by the British. Those spared death took the “high road” up and down mountains, through the glens, across rivers, on the long and difficult journey from England. The others–those drawn and quartered–sped along home to Scotland over the “low road”, their spirits escorted by the fairies, sadly, unable to reunite in this world with their true loves.

On a Happier Note

I prefer my romantic stories to have happy endings, don’t you?

My latest release is a happily-ever-after story about a young lady spurned at her first ball by her brother’s friend.

As Midsummer Night’s magic unfolds and passions rise, will a repentant duke be well and truly punished, or will a vengeful wallflower be caught in her own game?

A Midsummer Night’s masquerade at her family’s country home presents the Honorable Nancy Lovelace with the perfect opportunity for revenge against the man who ruined her first London season—a man she’s known since childhood, a man she’d once thought she loved. With the help of her crew of younger relatives, she’ll give him his comeuppance.

Thanks to his bad behavior, Simon Crayding is now known to society as the Swilling Duke. When an old school chum invites him for a Midsummer Night’s party, he jumps at the chance to lick his wounds among friends and apologize to his friend’s sister, Nancy, because apparently, he’s done something to hurt her, he just doesn’t remember what.

It soon becomes clear that Nancy will not easily forgive. Never one to resist a challenge—or a beautiful lady—Simon vows to persevere. As the night unfolds and passions rise, will Simon be well and truly punished, or will Nancy be caught in her own game?

Available wide in eBook and in print at Amazon. Find your favorite bookstore here: https://books2read.com/aWallflowersMidsummerNightCaper

I hope you enjoyed the Loch Lomond story. I had no idea before what the high road/low road of the song signified. Happy summer, and I’ll be back in September with another Quarter Days’ post.

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Molting Bird by Neetu

June 26, 2024 by in category Poet's Day by Neetu Malik tagged as , , ,

Molting Bird

It must have been 
a stormy night
when love flew out the window
of my vacant room

like a feather

from a molting bird.

Strange that I cannot remember
thunder or wind—
no howling or moaning,
no crashing at all

just the lightness of my plumage 
and a silence

knowing a fine new feather
shall take its place.

© Neetu Malik

Some of Neetu’s Books

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