A Slice of Orange


An Uneasy Out

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

The plane sat on the Philadelphia tarmac, waiting in line to take off. Steph blinked at the sunlight illuminating her face in the window seat; clear and sunny: a good omen for her trip to San Diego, to her former roommate’s wedding. Except, the journey was for the marital knot she’d hoped wouldn’t happen.

Then the person in the seat behind her threw up. 

We haven’t even started rolling down the runway.

Steph’s fellow travelers in Row 23 shifted in their seats as the retching continued. 

Several call lights switched on. The ill person murmured, “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.”

When no flight attendant responded to the lights, a man across the aisle in Row 24 tried a verbal summons. “We’ve got a sick person back here,” he shouted. “She needs help.”

Steph calculated the time frames that would now shift. This flight had an hour layover in Denver, but if the plane returned to the terminal instead of heading aloft, she might miss the connecting flight. Which would make her late for the rehearsal. Which would push the rehearsal dinner later. Christi had urged her to fly out the day before, but Steph had limited vacay days. Besides, she wasn’t sure she could endure watching her friend marry the guy Steph had thought was hers.

A flight attendant finally walked back to Row 24. By this time, the woman behind Steph was moaning softly and was, from what Steph could see as she surreptitiously peeked over the seat back, slumped against the window. 

After trying to rouse the passenger, the attendant hurried to the front of the plane. 

Moments later, the overhead speakers crackled to life.

“Folks, we’re heading back to the terminal because of a medical emergency. We’ll do our best to get in the air as soon as possible after that’s resolved. Thank you for your understanding.”

The cabin burst into conversation, and Steph’s seatmates compared notes about their destinations and the delay. She pulled out her phone to text Christi the news but stopped. Was this her excuse to miss the ceremony? She could even float a tiny lie about exposure. After all, she was only a couple of feet away from an obviously ill person. Christi didn’t need to know that Steph’s “illness” was dread.

The jet snuggled against the skywalk, and a flight attendant announced, “Please remain in your seats while the medical crew helps the ill passenger. We are determining if we will need to move to a new plane.”

Two EMTs entered the plane with a stretcher between them. With quiet efficiency, they moved the unconscious woman onto the stretcher and quickly wheeled her away.

Another flight attendant cleaned and sterilized the area, and the two people who had been seated next to the ill passenger resumed their places. The window seat remained empty.

Steph weighed her message to Christi. The closer the time to the wedding, the less she wanted to go. Why had she ever agreed to be a bridesmaid?

Flight is delayed. I’ll be late.

Let Christi take her wrath out on those already there. When Steph finally showed up, she could plead a migraine, an aching back—anything that would allow her to skip the ceremony, or at least sit in the back row and pretend to watch.

OMG. I told you to take an earlier flight.

Steph smiled grimly at her friend’s response. Reeve just might deserve Christi. He’d ghosted Steph more than a year into their relationship, although the frequent unanswered texts and calls prior to that should have been clues. And when Christi shared the news of her engagement to Reeve—“I’m sorry, but crazy things like this happen”—Steph was surprised her friend wanted her in the wedding. Perhaps it was to gloat.

When the flight touched down in Denver, Steph’s connecting flight had already departed. The slight queasiness that started when they were still over Pennsylvania had grown in strength until she knew she would not be traveling westward from Colorado. She didn’t need a made-up excuse; she had the real thing. She just hoped it was short-lived.

Some of Dianna’s stories are in the following anthologies.

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Marianne H. Donley, Featured Author of the Month

April 28, 2024 by in category Featured Author of the Month tagged as , , , ,

Featruing Marianne H. Donley

Marianne H. Donley makes her home in Pennslyvania with her husband, son, and a very very active dog. She is a member of Bethlehem Writers Group, The Charmed Connection, Sisters in Crime, The Guppies and Capital Crimes. When Marianne isn’t working on A Slice of Orange, she might be writing short stories, funny romances, or quirky murder mysteries, but this could be a rumor. She also could be knitting.

Each year consists of many seasons, each with its own unique appeal. Besides winter, spring, summer, and fall, within the pages of this book you’ll find seasons of life and love, sports seasons, and even seasons of discovery.

The multiple award-winning Bethlehem Writers Group, LLC, once again brings you stories that span a range of genres. Readers of mystery, romance, humor, paranormal, children’s, literary, popular, and women’s fiction will all find something to love. No matter your favorite season, you’re sure to discover a tale to amuse and delight.


“Beautiful voices, gorgeous writing—fresh and vibrant and compelling and irresistible. This collection of stories—each one a gem—is a real treasure. Dip in and try one—lounging by the shore or curled up by the fire, you’ll find a perfect story for every season.” Hank Phillippi Ryan—Agatha, Anthony, Macavity, and Mary Higgins Clark Award-winning author.

Once Around the Sun escorts its lucky readers through the seasons. We witness winter snows and spring’s thaw; we feel summer’s heat and autumn’s chill. But the real journey cuts much deeper, an exposing of rich veins of faith, humor, friendship, and love. Once Around the Sun follows the cycles of our world and lives, a trip navigated by voices you won’t soon forget.”Curtis Smith—author of BEASTS & MEN and WITNESS.

“Once Around the Sun proves the short story is alive and well! Cover to cover, it is packed with delightful, insightful, and exciting short stories. What a treasure! Perfect weekend reading.” Rebecca Forster—USA Today bestselling author of THE WITNESS series and other thrillers.

This collection has a cosmic range of genres, styles, and matters of the heart that matter: pets, sports, hobbies, preserves, reserves, heroes, villains, mentors, ghosts, lovers haunted and haunting. It sticks to the soul.” Geoff Gehman—author of THE KINGDOM OF THE KID.

“Tomato Blight,” Marianne’s short story in Once Around the Sun, introduces detective Eleanor Reed as she solves a murder despite being haunted by the victim’s ghost.

Other Anthologies with Marianne’s stories.

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Water Lilies by Neetu

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

Water Lilies

wetting my feet
in the old pond

I pause           to remember
how it felt
back when the feet
were young and free

but memories wrinkle
and my skin is worn and coarse
to feel the same things

the water in this pond
too murky
to bring back
the clarity of fresh water lilies
and unclouded hopes

(c) Neetu Malik

Some of Neetu’s Books

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In The Zone

April 25, 2024 by in category Infused with Meaning by Kidd Wadsworth, Writing tagged as , , , ,
Photo by Sonia Sanmartin on Unsplash

You’ve been there. Writing as fast as you can type, scared that you won’t be able to get all that fantastic dialogue currently flooding your mind, down on the paper before it slips away. You are IN THE ZONE.

I remember a summer day when I was writing in my dining room, every word an effort, the scene falling flat. I’d been at it for hours. I kept thinking, “If I just sit here and keep working it will come.” Eventually, I got up, went into the kitchen and began washing dishes. That’s when I saw him. He darted around the corner. Then I heard him speaking in my mind, as clear as if he was standing next to me. I dried my hands and returned to write one of the best chapters I’ve ever created, personally dictated to me, by a wonderful little boy—my protagonist.

But how do I get into the zone reliably, every day?

Truthfully, I don’t get in the zone every day. But I do get there often. Here are my two best strategies.

First, I speak—out loud—with the voice of my character. When my character is sad, I cry. When she is angry, I rage at full volume. When she is lonely, I ache. When she is afraid, I run for my life—literally. I run through the house, up the stairs, and hide in the closet. I feel what my character feels, I do—as much as possible—what my character would do. I become her.

Once I woke in the night. Earlier that day I had been crafting a short story about a young woman who was hunted by a demon. As I typed the scene I had just dreamed, I began to see moving shadows in the dark room. I hadn’t turned on any lights because I didn’t want to wake my husband. As I worked, the fear within me built to such a level that my trembling fingers kept typing the wrong letters. When I finally got the last words down, I hurriedly fled back to bed and woke my husband. “Tell me it’s not real,” I said. He put his arms around me. “Have you been writing again?”

When the zone happens, I typically write in first person regardless of the POV the story eventually will have. I do this to capture the character and the emotions I am feeling. Once down on the page I can easily shift into another POV.

My second technique is music—and dancing. I deliberately chose a piece of music to play when I begin a new story. Whenever I open that file on my computer, I also play the music. This helps me ground myself in the world of my character. However, music alone is typically not enough to get me in the zone. I must also dance—the wilder the better.

Happy Writing!

Kidd Wadsworth

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The Character Must Die

April 22, 2024 by in category Write From the Heart by Veronica Jorge tagged as , , ,

I killed one of the characters in my novel.

(It was more like two, but I have no qualms about the second one.)

I came up with a death scene I really liked and just had to use it, so someone had to “go.”

I’m still not sure if it was in the best interest of the story, or if I’m just stuck on having to use a particular description.

As I reflect on the sequence of events and the wording, and debate the character’s fate; to live or not to live? I think about language in general and the nuances contained therein.

The English “goodbye”, like the characters in a book, can be so finite. Here today, gone tomorrow.

In contrast, parting words in other languages encompass a world of possibilities of that which is yet to be experienced. Whether it’s, auf wiedersehen in German, arrivederci in Italian, or hasta luego in Spanish, each expresses the probability, and the hope, that we will meet again. Even the Japanese rarely use sayonara, unless it really is “the end.”

In life, as in writing and in reading, I prefer the meanings that other languages provide for that interim we call separation. And I would like to think that the characters we create in our imaginations, that eventually inhabit the pages of a book, continue on, not only in our own minds, but in the minds, and perhaps the hearts, of our readers.

So, if I must terminate one of my characters, I’ll think of them as an old soldier who has faithfully served, and comfort myself with the words of General Douglas MacArthur.

“Old soldiers never die, they just fade away.”

And I realize that no matter how wonderful a story may be, as we grow and change, some of the characters we loved best as writers and readers do fade away and/or are replaced by others.

But, they never really die.

We meet them over and over again in the ways they have touched us and changed us, and have made us different and maybe, even better, for having met them.

See you next time on May 22nd.

Veronica Jorge

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