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Dianna Sinovic, Featured Author

March 1, 2024 by in category Featured Author of the Month tagged as , , ,

Author of the Month: Dianna Sinovic

picture of dianna sinovic

Dianna is a contributing author in the last three anthologies from The Bethlehem Writers Group, An Element of Mystery: Sweet, Funny and Strange Tales of Intrigue, Fur, Feathers, and Scales, Sweet, Funny and Strange Animal Tales and Untethered, Sweet, Funny & Strange Tales of the Paranormal. She has also contributed stories for the Bethlehem Writers Roundtable ezine, including “In the Delivery.”

Born and raised in the Midwest, Dianna has also lived in three other quadrants of the U.S. She writes short stories and poetry, and is working on a full-length novel about a young woman in search of her long-lost brother.

She is a member of Sisters in Crime, Horror Writers Association, The American Medical Writers Association, and The Bethlehem Writers Group, LLC.

Dianna also has a regular column here on A Slice of Orange, titled Quill and Moss, in which she frequently includes short fiction.

Below, you can also listen to Dianna read her short story, “Cold Front” from the GLVWG Writes Stuff anthology.

Other books by Dianna Sinovic

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Answer Me This

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

The deck beckons you to turn over a card. The cryptic symbols on the backs intrigue you, but you aren’t sure you want to wade into the tarot just yet.

A friend gave you the deck yesterday, on your birthday, telling you with a smile, “This will help with your decision.”

Britt knows you too well—that you are often indecisive and in fact have put off this most important action until it is almost too late. 

“But I know nothing about fortunetelling,” you sputtered after opening the small box that neatly held the tarot deck. 

“All the better,” she said with a knowing nod. “They will guide you.”

And now you stare at the deck, your hands trembling slightly. You feel like a skier at the top of a steep hill: Once you push off, you will be on a downward slope without any ability to stop until you reach the bottom—or hit a tree.

Britt has already nudged you gently. “Start your session with the cards by asking a question.” She winked. “You already know one, right?”

Yes, you do. And, so here you are, whispering the question to yourself. The deck is ready even if you are stalling.

The first card’s smoothness belies the fellow on the other side: a joker. You wonder if you’ve misunderstood the intent. Are these meant for playing a game like poker? Then you notice that the card’s name is the Fool. Ah, that makes sense. Who’s the Fool now?

From some memory your mind dredges up—was it a carney attraction when you were a kid?—you recall that a handful of cards are turned over and from them your fate is revealed.

The memory comes crashing back: The woman with the short-cropped hair and dramatic eye liner, her long, blood-red fingernails tapping the cards as she discussed your future. The musky perfume that infused the small room off the main carnival path.

“Today is here, make the most of it.” Then her frown as she turned over the last card. 

You fled before she could pronounce your fate. What had seemed a lark had become menacing. Now, you mull over her cliched answer and realize how spot-on she was: You were indecisive even then.

The Fool’s card is followed by the Six of Wands, then you flip up Judgement, then the King of Cups. Is that enough? Once again, you mine that long-forgotten memory, but the number of cards on the threadbare carney tablecloth is just beyond your grasp. 

You decide to turn just one more face up. This time it’s the Wheel of Fortune, reversed.

And now you should have the answer you reluctantly seek . . . somewhere in these images. 

The words form in your mind, as though someone or something is dictating them: You are at the cusp of a new beginning. This is your wake-up call; once you take this step, there is no going back, but this is good news. You have long seen your life as one in which you are waiting for the best to come. That changes with today.

And now you are texting Britt. She has posed a question to you, one that will indeed change your life.

“Yes,” you text. “My answer is yes.”

Some of Dianna’s Stories are in the following anthologies:

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Snow Pack

August 30, 2023 by in category Quill and Moss by Dianna Sinovic, Writing tagged as , , ,

The first time Merylee heard the tune, she listened out of curiosity. The single had popped up in her YouTube feed, which any other day would have suggested Taylor Swift or maybe Billie Ellish. She clicked on it just to find out what the song sounded like. Old, she thought, way old, but haunting. A band her mother probably loved when she was in college; her mom now just past sixty-five.

Photo by Yasmin Gomes on Unsplash

The next time she heard it, Merylee was driving to her mother’s, at her sister’s snippy urging. 

“Mom needs help with sorting out her bills,” Lauren said. “Since the mini-stroke, she’s getting more forgetful. I’m worried, but I can’t get over there with everything else going on.” Everything else meaning the dumpster fire that was her sister’s life.

Scanning the stations in her battered Civic, Merylee caught the song playing on an oldie’s station. She listened for a few moments—the singer was Stacy? Susan?—and then kept scanning, finally hitting on a Taylor Swift song. She sang along until she pulled into the grocery store lot near her mother’s house. 

 In the self-checkout lanes, Merylee placed yogurt, bananas, English Breakfast tea, a loaf of multi-grain bread, and three vine-ripened tomatoes in her cloth grocery bag. At the kiosk next to hers, a guy in a Tales from the Crypt T-shirt was humming that tune. Not again.

Ten minutes later, she was putting the groceries away in her mother’s kitchen.

“Mom, did you ever like Fleetwood Mac?”

Her mother sat at the kitchen island, watching Merylee at work. “What?” She frowned as if concentrating on words that were just beyond her comprehension.

“Fleetwood Mac,” Merylee repeated. “A band from . . . the Eighties? Did you ever listen to them? I keep hearing one of their songs. Something about snow-covered hills.” She kept her tone light, but cringed inwardly. I see what Lauren means.

“Nineteen seventy-six.” Merylee’s mother had come alive, her eyes bright. “Gregory bought tickets to their concert.” She smiled and closed her eyes. “We’d been dating for, oh, maybe seven months, but that concert sealed it for us.”

“In Philly?” Merylee tried to imagine her mother and father all those years ago, at a concert. Dressed in . . . bell bottoms? Tie dye? 

Her mother nodded. “The Spectrum.” She paused, her eyes looking at something only she could see. “It was between acts. We were there with Phil and Justine and Paula.” She glanced at Merylee. “You never met them. All of us impatient for Fleetwood to come onstage. I don’t even remember the other bands. And Gregory . . .” Again, she lapsed into silence, the memories seeming to accelerate. “He proposed.”

“You never told me this,” Merylee said. She slipped onto the stool next to her mom. When she reached out to take her mother’s hand, the older woman shook her head and rose to her feet.

“Let me find it,” she said and left the room. 

Merylee heard cabinets and drawers opening and closing and almost stood up to follow, but then her mother was back, holding a small, blue velvet box topped with a white bow. 

“Here,” her mother said. She took her stool and pushed the box toward Merylee. “He gave me a ring, of course. It was a cheap, dime-store ring because he didn’t want to lose the real one in that crowd. But he also gave me this.” She nodded at Merylee. “Go ahead. I wound it in the other room. Open it. I’m Stephanie, too, you know. That’s why.”

Puzzled, Merylee carefully opened the lid. The tinkling from the music box mirrored the same tune she’d been hearing over the last few days. Stephanie . . .  StevieThat was the singer she’d been trying to place.

“Where did Dad find this?” Merylee cradled the box. Even in her forties, there were so many things she still didn’t know about her parents. And half of the pair was already gone—five years now.

“He never told me,” Stephanie said. “Those friends, Phil and Justine, they were musicians, too, and they played it at our wedding. It was ‘our’ song.”

Suddenly envious, Merylee hugged her mother. “You must really miss Dad. I know I do.”

Stephanie gently detached herself from Merylee. “I’ll be fine. I am fine. I have some rough patches from time to time, but I’m okay.” She patted Merylee’s hand. “It’s you I worry about. Don’t listen to your sister. She’s a landslide waiting to happen.”

Merylee backed out of her mother’s driveway, car windows open to the late August afternoon. Across the street, with his feet propped on a porch railing, a young man noodled on his acoustic guitar. She stopped to listen. This time, the now-familiar tune made her blink back the sudden dampness in her eyes.

More of Dianna’s Stories

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Treasured Objects

June 30, 2023 by in category Columns, Quill and Moss by Dianna Sinovic, Writing tagged as , ,
Photo by Garreth Paul on Unsplash

When Ryann’s neighbor called her with the news, she hurried the two doors down. It was actually the daughter of Mr. Mallory who summoned her. The elderly Mallory had not been in the best of health for years. And now he was dead.

“I wanted you to have first pick of Dad’s stuff,” Jody, Mallory’s daughter, said when she ushered Ryann into the house. “You took such good care of him over the years.”

Ryann smoothed back a loose strand of hair and waved a hand to deflect the praise. “All I did was fetch his mail for him, and make a grocery run every now and then.” 

“But you were here for him, and I appreciate that.” Jody beckoned to Ryann to follow her farther into the house. “And my brothers won’t know what’s missing. They were never around, always too busy to drop by, Dad said.”

They traipsed through the living room, dim with heavy window drapes, and into the dated kitchen. Ryann had been this far in the house to deliver Mallory’s groceries. The tired décor and dim lighting never enticed her to linger when she visited. She might be a widow, but living alone did not mean one had to stay stuck in a time warp. 

“Anything catch your eye?” Jody turned in a circle in the kitchen, arms outstretched.

Ryann shook her head. “I have everything I need, but thanks.” 

“Then you’ve got to see what I found upstairs. I know you love art, and this is right up your alley.” 

Without waiting for a reply, Jody climbed the stairs to the second floor, Ryann close behind. It was true that Ryann collected art, and proudly displayed several local artists’ works on her walls. Mallory had hung only cheap framed prints of animals and exotic beaches, as far as she had seen. Whatever lay upstairs was likely just a continuation of the mundane.

The two women passed three bedrooms and a bathroom. At the fourth door, Jody pushed it open and entered another bedroom, empty save for a double bed frame holding a set of springs (no mattress) and a brass floor lamp. She picked up a picture frame covered in black cloth, and with a flourish uncovered the art beneath.

“What do you think?” 

Ryann stood speechless . It was a still life, a real painting; she could see the brush strokes. Oil, she guessed. But it was more than the fact that it was not a print: The painting itself captured her interest. Excellent design and color. Clever choice of objects to feature in the setting: a goblet that glinted gold, an exquisite folded cloth, a filigreed chain, a small tiara with a cluster of diamonds across the top. A plate on the frame offered the title: Treasured Objects.

“It’s … astonishing,” Ryann stuttered. 

Jody smiled. “I think so, too.” She held it out to Ryann, who backed away.

“I can’t accept this,” Ryann said. “You should keep it … or take it to an art dealer. I’m sure it’s worth a lot. More than I could afford to pay you.”

Shaking her head, Jody stepped to Ryann. “Dad did not splurge on things. I’m sure this is a yard sale special, so I’m not giving up a fortune by making it a present to you.”

Still Ryann hesitated. She knew the piece was valuable. 

“Okay,” she finally said. “I’ll take it, but I’ll get it appraised, and if it’s worth what I think it is, I’m giving it back to you.”


Ryann propped the painting on the sideboard in her dining room and in the busy-ness of her life – volunteer work, grandkids to babysit, friends to visit – she forgot about it for almost a week. It was when she was tidying up after her daughter’s toddler twins had left that she paused to look at it again. 

 I wonder what it’s worth.

She turned away and then turned back. A hand that she swore hadn’t been there previously lay casually within the still life. The unknown model’s hand and arm faded off to the right in the picture. The artist apparently wanted a hint of something live within the assemblage of inanimate objects on the table.

Why hadn’t she seen that before?

And then the hand moved. Just a twitch. A moment later the hand turned over, palm up.

Ryann fled the house. At Mallory’s front door, she rang the bell and pounded her fist on the panel.

When Jody opened the door,  Ryann tried to compose herself, taking deep breaths.

“Tell me,” she gasped. “If you don’t mind my asking, what did your father die of?”

Jody wiped her hands on her jeans, dust in her hair and grime on her cheeks. “Forgive my appearance,” she said. “I’ve knee-deep in cleaning up this old place.”

“Please,” Ryann said. “It’s none of my business, but I need to know.”

Stepping out onto the porch, Jody closed the door behind her. “We’re not sure,” she said. “How he died, I mean. No one’s found his body, but he doesn’t appear to have left. It’s been over a month since anyone has seen or heard from him, so the family assumes he’s dead.”

“Come with me,” Ryann said. “I think I may have found him.”

You will find more of Dianna’s stories in the following books:

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Room with a View

May 30, 2023 by in category Quill and Moss by Dianna Sinovic tagged as , , ,

The top floor of Brindle Hall overlooks a grove of red maples, the crowns of the trees only a few feet below the windows. Nyla smiles at the leaves in motion below her. It would be like living in a treehouse. A bit, anyway. 

“How much is the lease?” She’s sure the price is beyond her budget, but she has to ask.

The agent names a price that’s a stretch, but the trees outside the windows are calling to her.

He promises the key and the paperwork by tomorrow. She can move in the following week.

Later, sitting on the couch she’s temporarily commandeered at a friend’s house, Nyla considers the floor plan of her new place. Two tiny bedrooms, a kitchen/dining room combo, and the living room with the balcony overlooking the maples. It must do.

Sam helps her move, but not without grousing. “You have too much stuff.”

“You mean books.” She knows that’s where she overbuys and shrugs. “I can’t help myself.”

They load box after box of books onto the handcart and take the elevator up. When he departs, after a feast of carryout pizza and chocolate chip cookies she had stashed for emergencies, she sits on the floor amid the boxes, which take up much of the living room.

She reaches into one of them, lifts out a volume, and opens the cover. Through the sliding glass door to the balcony, the maple leaves rustle. 

Nodding, she checks her phone.

Almost time.

An hour slips past, as she reads several chapters. The darkness of the evening deepens beyond the windows, and Nyla switches a floor lamp on low. 

After emptying her pockets, she lays her phone on the kitchen counter and places her shoes next to the fridge. On the balcony, she gazes down to the sidewalk that runs along the front of her building, four floors down. It’s empty and quiet at this hour.

Overhead, clouds drift past a waxing crescent shining in the east. A slight breeze brings the odor of diesel fumes and—as her nose morphs into a beak—mice and a wandering housecat. She can hear the rodents skittering in the alley. She shakes out her wing feathers, russet brown and soft, and swivels her head to check herself in the window. Her ear tufts stand out against the night’s backdrop. With a brief hoot, she hops onto the balcony railing.

One push up and she’s airborne, skimming above the maples, and then over the nearby streets of the town. 

Dianna’s Books

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