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Kiss Me, I’m Irish by Jaclyn Roche

April 25, 2019 by in category Apples & Oranges by Marianne H. Donley tagged as , , , ,

Last month in the Facebook Group, The Charmed Connection, members of Charmed Writers posted some flash fiction short stories in honor of St. Patrick’s Day. Charmed Connection members voted for their favorite stories. The top four stories will be published this month on A Slice of Orange.


Our last story in this series is by Jaclyn Roche.

Jaclyn lives in the woods of Maine on a Mountain next to a lake and shares her version of utopia with her husband, two sons, two giant fur babies, two tiny feather babies and a few toads! Jaclyn’s short story, “Harvest of Memories” was published in Charmed Writers Presents: Flash Fiction 2019.

Follow her on social media:



Kiss Me, I’m Irish

Angela had never been to a Saint Patrick’s Day party and had no idea what to expect having been raised outside of the U.S. She supposed she expected a big grand event rather than the tame one she drove up to. Walking up the sidewalk lined with garden beds, screeching bagpipes drifted out of the opened windows. A squeal of the pipes nearly sent her hands to her ears. No professionals here. Laughter from inside kept tune with the squeaks and shrieks coming her way. Her knees trembled. Angela turned about to head back for her car. The front door to the cottage swung open and the screen door caught the Irish flag before it swung into the house.

“Angie! Welcome!” James’ smile was wide, wider than usual and mossy green eyes brighter than normal. His freckled cheeks tinged with a rosiness he got while drinking or exercising and Angie knew there wasn’t any exercising going on at the moment. He wrapped his long strong arms around her.

“Hey sweetie,” Angie’s feet dangled in the air from his burly bear hug. James smacked her lips with his leaving them wet and tasting of whiskey, “into the good stuff already, I see.” Her feet touched the tile and he grasped her hand dragging her through the one-story home.


“I can’t wait for you to meet my parents. They’re going to love you!” James spoke fast and his pitch elevated. He skipped off to the kitchen with her in tow.

The pit-pat of her heart now revved up to a fast thudding against her chest. Her breath hitched in her throat as they crossed the threshold into the aromatic room causing Angie’s stomach to growl loudly and uncontrollably. Oh no. Angie bit her trembling lip. Her hand would have shaken if it weren’t still encased in James’. And now that his warm grasp left her it did shake.


“Well, hello there, Angela.” Mrs. O’Conner’s auburn hair was peppered with gray at the temples. Her slight hands reached out to clasp Angie’s darker bronzed one. “Welcome to the family.” She brought Angie in for a hug; her smile genuine. Her eyes kind and caring as she let go and turned towards the buffet stacked with goodies. “Now, let’s get you fed before Boomer here gets onto the table and eats everything.”


Boomer, their French Bulldog, danced around Angie’s feet. The poor thing decked out in a shamrock springy headband that said “Kiss Me” on one clover and “I’m Irish” on the other. Angie burst out with laughter and picked the dog up receiving wet sloppy kisses all over her face. How perfect. Her jitters left and she fell in love all over again with James’ family.


We hope you enjoyed Jaclyn’s story. You can read the other stories in the series here:

Fiona Malone’s Fesh by Veronica Jorge
The Last Serpent by Angela Pryce
Payment in Kind by Roxy Matthews


Read Jaclyn’s short story, “Harvest of Memories” in Charmed Writers Presents: Flash Fiction 2019

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Payment in Kind by Roxy Matthews

April 24, 2019 by in category Apples & Oranges by Marianne H. Donley tagged as , , ,

Last month in the Facebook Group, The Charmed Connection, members of Charmed Writers posted some flash fiction short stories in honor of St. Patrick’s Day. Charmed Connection members voted for their favorite stories. The top four stories will be published this month on A Slice of Orange.


Roxy Mathews | Jann Says | A Slice of Orange

Our third story in this collection is by Roxy Matthews.

Roxy Matthews is the author of several self published novels, McBride’s Gem, Numb, and Second Time Sam, with several others due out this year. She’s also a contributor to Charmed Writers Presents: Flash Fiction 2019

In addition, you can read more about Roxy in the interview she did with Jann Ryan here on A Slice of Orange.


Payment in Kind

Nightmares were a thing Joey Scallone knew much about. His family was the toughest mob family in all of Chicago and surrounding cities. They were widely known and feared. Yet there were always those who thought they could outsmart and outgun a Scallone. He watched many a man perish gruesome deaths at the hands of his old man and two older brothers trying to prove themselves worthy. And they’d always left in body bags.

Joey never partook in the beatings or slayings, but he had dumped the tarp wrapped bodies when the smoke cleared, helped clean up any evidence that a Scallone had been in the vicinity. Because of his crimes, he’d been plagued with the visions of those unlucky men nightly. One in particular. Just the memories of the old man’s final words sent a shiver down his spine.

Joey tried to convince himself that he deserved what he’d gotten. Old Man Bishop could not ‘order’ his family, no one could. That big mistake would have dire consequences in the end. But his own excuses for his family’s actions did little to dissuade the nightmares that woke him from his sleep in a cold sweat, his sheets soaked, clinging to his bare flesh. Nor could it drive the old man’s words from his mind. “Since you won’t pay for the work I did for you, I’ll be back for that gold. Mark my words.”

Joey shivered, nervously ran his tongue along the three gold teeth Old Man Bishop had fit him with after a brawl with a local barkeep. His old man had promised to pay Bishop handsomely for the work and as far as Joey’d ever known, payment had been made. But with the old man’s words, Joey knew otherwise. In his darkened bedroom save the flickering lights of the bar across the street, Joey searched the shadows. His heart hammered in his chest, sweat gleamed on his skin, hands trembled at his sides. This was no way for a Scallone to act. To fear a dead man, let alone one alive was as blasphemous to the family name as beating your woman. Yet here Joey sat, on his stained mattress, arms wrapped around his legs, knees pulled up to his chest, fearing words of a dead man.

Joey scoffed at himself, lowered his legs, dropped back to the mattress, one arm beneath his head. “Get with the program, Scallone,” he cursed himself until his lids felt heavy, sleep inevitable.

As darkness began to take hold, Joey heard shuffling from the corner of his room followed by a soft voice.

“Where’s my gold?”

Joey bolted up in bed, eyes wide, breath held.

He looked left. Right. Nothing. Joey sighed. “Goddamnit, Scallone,” he cursed.

“That’s right, Scallone. Goddammit, give me my gold.”

Before Joey could comprehend how close the voice was, the mattress before him depressed and the outline of a hunched over old man came into view.

Joey gasped, jumped back until he was trapped between his cold bedroom wall and his visitor. He blinked several times, pinched his thigh all in the hopes of pulling himself from the nightmare. But he stayed in it. Eye to eye with a dead man. The wrinkled face surrounded by thick bushy grey hair leaned closer, he grinned a toothless grin as eyes as dark as a tarpit peered into Joey’s soul. Give me my gold, boy.”

Joey squeezed his eyes shut, shook his head. As much as he wanted to look his foe in the eye, battle the demons of his own mind, as his old man and brothers had taught him, he could not. “You’re not real, you’re not real.”

“Oh, you don’t think so, huh,” Old Man Bishop’s voice croaked, followed by a sinister laugh that turned Joey’s blood to ice.

Cold fingers reached for his lips, strength in the grip opened his mouth wide.

Joey’s eyes whipped open onto the spectral vision of the old man, a sinister grin on his thin lips. In his terror, he panicked, fought to pull himself free from the grip. Shaken hands reached to push the old man away, yet instead of his fists filled with the old man’s tattered dental jacket, they came away with nothing. The old man reached a wrinkled hand inside Joey’s mouth, gripped one of his gold teeth like a vise and yanked. Joey screamed, flailed about on sheets barely covering the mattress. Blood splattered in his mouth, dripped down his chin as one by one, the gold teeth were yanked from his jaw.

***

When Joey awoke several days later in the hospital screaming about his golden teeth, ripped from his jaw by a ghost seeking his payment in kind, the nurses could only shake their heads.

“The poor boy, such a young age for such a horrific incident,” one whispered.

“Yeah, to be the innocent victim of gang violence like that.” Another added, shook her head. “Those boys should be ashamed of the beating they gave him.”

The first nurse nodded her head. “I agree, thankfully they were able to reconstruct his jaw.” She paused, then added. “But his poor teeth.”


We hoped you enjoyed Roxy’s story. Check in tomorrow for Jaclyn Roche’s “Kiss Me, I’m Irish. While you’re waiting, you can also read Veronica Jorge’s Fiona Malone’s Fesh or Angela Pryce’s The Last Serpent.


Books by Roxy Matthews

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The Last Serpent by Angela Pryce

April 18, 2019 by in category Apples & Oranges by Marianne H. Donley tagged as , , ,

Last month in the Facebook Group, The Charmed Connection, members of Charmed Writers posted some flash fiction short stories in honor of St. Patrick’s Day. Charmed Connection members voted for their favorite stories. The top four stories will be published this month on A Slice of Orange.

Picture of Angela Price

Our second story is by Angela Pryce.

Angela has a short story, “One Kind of Angel” is included in Charmed Writers Presents: Flash Fiction 2019. Her first full-length novel, The Devil’s Caress was released this month by Boroughs Publishing Group.

You can find Angela on social media at:

FB: @ItsBetterToReign
Twitter: @AngelaPryceMuse
Instagram: @AngelaPryceMuse
Website:  Angelaprycethemuse

The Last Serpent

Angela Pryce

The child tossed in her sleep. In her dream, she was all grown up and riding a gray horse. A man rode beside her on a black destrier. His green eyes were fierce as he whispered, “Danger.”

“Fiona?”

The child shook her head. A frown creased dark, winged eyebrows.

“You’re dreaming, Fiona.”

Fiona felt her body being shaken. In her dream her horse pranced and shied. “Wake up, mo chroí.”

Fiona sat up, blinking, confused. Her lips felt stuck together. “Mam,” she managed. “Someone’s here.”

“No one but us, angel.”

“But he told me—”

“You were dreaming.”

Fiona looked into her mother’s eyes and insisted, “Someone is here.”

Her mother shrank back, searching her daughter’s face.

Out front, a shod hoof rang against stone, the sound clear over the crashing surf. Fiona’s skin prickled as every hair stood up. The next words Fiona spoke rang with precocious authority. “Mam. Run.”

Her mother stared at her, stroked Fiona’s dark hair from her sleep-sticky cheek. She kissed her daughter once, nodded. She was rising from the wooden stool when the first pounding came against the door.

Fiona felt numb as she watched. Her mother pressed herself against the bedroom door, red hair glimmering in the firelight, one hand fumbling for the catch behind her even as the other clapped over her own mouth to stifle her scream.

The front door shook violently.

Fiona heard her father’s startled shout. Her mother fumbled the latch open, tried to push against a door that must be pulled. Another slam against the front door. A dull cracking sound.

Her mother stumbled forward as the bedroom door was pushed open. Fiona’s father reached through, grasped his wife around the waist, hauled her backward. He looked for Fiona.

“Daidí, no!” Fiona cried, but her father ignored her. He lifted her from her bed, wool blanket and all. “Put me down! It’s Mam!” Fiona thrashed in her father’s arms as the front door gave and several men tried to shove their way in at once.

Her father spun to face them, squeezing Fiona too tight. He reached for the fireplace poker. A sword was held to his throat. Fiona stared at the sword, watching her breath cloud the sheen of the steel. Three strangers strode across the room, forced the bedroom door open. Fiona’s mother was dragged from the bedroom, taken from the house.

Her father sat on Fiona’s bed, holding her and stroking her long hair, soothing only himself.

A different kind of man entered the cottage.

Fiona knew this man with his dark robes and malicious eyes. He upended cookware and threw her mother’s jars down from the shelf. His long, greedy fingers reached for the scrolls that only her mother knew how to read.

With a roar, Fiona’s father was across the room, batting the thin priest back one-handed, guarding his wife’s treasured scrolls with a feral snarl.

The priest laughed. He reached for a neatly labeled jar. “This alone will do,” he said, “to condemn the last snake in Éire.”


We hope you enjoyed reading Angela’s story. You can read Veronica Jorge’s story, “Fiona Malone’s Fresh Fesh” and remember to stop by on April 24th for the next story in the series, Roxy Matthew’s “Payment in Kind.”


Read Angela Pryce’s short story, “One Kind of Angelin Charmed Writers Presents: Flash Fiction 2019 and get her new novel The Devil’s Caress.

THE DEVIL’S CARESS

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THE DEVIL’S CARESS

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Charmed: An Interview with Tari Lynn Jewett

March 2, 2019 by in category Jann says . . . tagged as , , , ,
Tari Lynn Jewett | A Slice of Orange

Joining us today is A Slice of Orange author Tari Lynn Jewett. Tari lives in Southern California with her husband of nearly thirty years (also known as Hunky Hubby). They have three adult sons, all who live nearby. For more than fifteen years she wrote freelance for magazines and newspapers, wrote television commercials, radio spots, numerous press releases, and many, MANY PTA newsletters. As much as she loved writing those things, she always wanted to write fiction . . .and now she is.

When she’s not writing, you can find her at the beach, in her sewing room, or curled up with a good book. She’s also been known to play a mean game of pool.

Tari believes in happily ever afters . . . because she’s living hers. 

You can follow Tari on social media:

Website: tarilynnjewett.com
Facebook: Tari Lynn Jewett
Facebook reader group: Tari’s Tribe
Instagram:  Tari Lynn Jewett
Instagram:  Tari Lynn Jewett

Tari’s A Slice of Orange column “Charmed Writers” posts on the 10th of every month.

Jann: The #CharmedWriters Facebook group is such a wonderful group. What motivated you to start it?

Tari: Charmed Writers began kind of by accident, the way so many things I do begin. I was Pro Liaison for my very favorite writing group, the Orange County Chapter of Romance Writers for America. Many of our writer friends were going to the 2016 Romantic Times Conference. I decided that the rest of us shouldn’t be left out of the fun, and at the last minute created a Stuck at Home writing event on Facebook. I invited the PRO group, and told them to invite their friends, so it was open to everyone. Twenty-five people participated in that first event. I wanted to find a way to motivate and reward everyone for participation, so I ordered charms to give out for reaching different goals. We wrote all week, motivated each other, inspired each other and got to be very good friends. At the end, we didn’t want it to be over, and Charmed Writers was born.

Jann: Did you expect it to be so well received?

Tari: I thought it would be a place for the original members to keep working together, but they started asking to invite friends, and people started hearing about the group and asking if they could join. I never expected it to grow as it has.

Jann: What’s the best part of #Charmed Writers?

Tari: Oh, my gosh. The best part of Charmed Writers is the amazing friends that I’ve made, and seeing the love and support that people are willing to give each other. I’ve learned so much from Charmed Writers, and I’m so honored to be part of this amazing group of writers.

Jann: Tell us about Charmed Writers Presents: Flash Fiction 2019

Tari: Charmed Writers Presents Flash Fiction 2019 is an anthology of 41 stories, by 41 authors who are members of Charmed Writers. All of the stories are approximately 500 words long, and are in a variety of genres. This is another project that started by accident. Last year on June 13th I saw a post that Friday, June 16th would be National Flash Fiction Day. I thought it would be to create an event to challenge Charmed Writers members to write a 500-word story. 16 people participated in the event.  I told everyone we would do something with the stories. I thought it might be a good time to start a Charmed Writer website, and post our stories there. However, Slice of Orange owner, and Charmed Writer, Marianne Donley, sent me some book covers she’d created for an anthology, and we went with the idea. We opened it up to the Charmed Writers group again, and ended up with an amazing mix of stories from bestselling authors, to debut authors. I truly was an amazing experience. Marianne Donley did the heavy lifting on this project, without her it wouldn’t have happened.

Jann: Will there be more Flash Fiction anthologies?

Tari: LOL, I’m not sure yet! But it’s possible. The current anthology will be available for one year, and the only way to get it is through a Charmed Writer, or by being a member of The Charmed Connection. And did I mention that it’s free? I think you can get it here through A Slice of Orange as well.

(Editor’s note: Click the Book Link or the cover to go to the page where Flash Fiction 2019 is available.)

Jann: You also started The Charmed Connection for readers–another very successful group. Why did you start The Charmed Connection?

Tari: Thank you. The Charmed Connection started naturally as a place for Charmed Writer authors to connect with readers. We have ‘bookshelves’ in the group where readers can find books by Charmed Writers, and various authors drop in and share their lives, play games and most importantly get to know our readers.

Jann: What fun things do you have planned for The Charmed Connection?

Tari: There’s always something going on in The Charmed Connection. We have parties, special guests, giveaways and games. We’ve done one Book Club selection, and I’m hoping to do more of them. I’d like to see more Facebook Live events in the group, those are always fun, and I’d like to do a reader project that’s been rolling around in my head for a little while. I’ll have to let you know more about it when the idea is fully formed!

Jann: How does a reader or an author join?

Tari: To join The Charmed Connection just go to The Charmed Connection group on facebook, and click “join” and answer three questions about reading. It’s that simple! Then just jump right in and join the fun.

Jann: Your fun romantic comedy, #PleaseSayYes (#HermosafortheHolidays Book1) was just released. (I love the cover!) Tell us a little bit about the book.

Tari: Thank you! #PleaseSayYes is a novella, and a romantic comedy that was released first in Valentine’s boxed set last year with stories by 12 other authors. It’s set just down the street from me in Hermosa Beach. Lucy, my heroine, a kind of bookish schoolteacher finds she has a social media secret admirer, and when his posts to her go viral her world turns upside down. It’s the first in a holiday series set in Hermosa Beach. It’s very sweet, as Hunky Hubby says, it’s a story you can share with your mother and daughter.        

Jann: So, Book 1 implies there will be a Book 2—When will it be published and what can you tell us about  it?

Tari: Book 2 #SilverBracelets, is a full-length novel, the story of Lucy’s friend and colleague, Ashley. There’s some payback for Lucy in the story as Ashley finds herself also part of a social media campaign, only Ashley doesn’t find this one so amusing. Many of the same characters are in this story, and I’ve had so much fun writing it. It will release in April.

Jann: What else do you write?

Tari: I freelance wrote non-fiction for magazines and newspapers for about 15 years, but as far as fiction goes, I’ve been working on a women’s fiction novel set in the 1920’s, and it’s also part of a series. It’s very different from my romcoms. This is darker and edgier, and I love writing every word of it, but it’s also the reason I started writing the romcoms. I needed to get my head out of the darker places every now and then.

Jann: When will it be released?

Tari: I wish I knew! I’m submitting this story to an agent, so when I get the good word, I’ll share with you!

Jann: Do you find yourself returning to certain themes in your stories? What? Why? I do.

Tari: Yes, definitely. The theme of ‘perfection’, trying to be perfect or have the perfect life frequently shows up in my writing. I didn’t realize it at first, and it’s subtler in the romcoms, but in most of the stories I write, the heroines seem to be working out a need to be perfect. I’d have to say that it’s something I struggle with myself, and I think many women do. We strive to be perfect, which of course is impossible, so we’re constantly setting ourselves up for failure. Hopefully, we eventually learn that we’re never going to be Perfect, all we can be is our best. And the truth is, that’s better than being perfect.

Jann: What’s the best writing advice you ever received?

Tari: I’m not even sure where I heard it first, and it goes back to that idea of Perfection. But, I’ve heard many successful authors, often at our OCC RWA meetings say There’s no wrong way to write a book, don’t worry about what other writers are doing, do what works for you. I think that’s absolutely true.

Jann: How do you stay motivated? What drives you to keep writing?

Tari: For me writing doesn’t require motivation. I’m compelled to write, good or bad, whatever is going on in my life, writing is my first outlet, both creative and emotional. It’s not a choice, I just do it… although, it’s a choice I would make if I had to.

Jann: Do you ever run out of ideas? If so, how did you get past that?

Tari: Running out of ideas is never a problem. In fact, the problem is generally not letting new ideas distract me from the current project! So, finding enough time is the problem!

Jann: What sound or noise do you love?

Tari: I think my favorite sound is the sound of my husband’s voice. I love picking up the phone and hearing him talk, or sitting across the table and listening to his voice.

Jann: What sound or noise do you hate?

Tari: Funny you should ask. We were at a fast food restaurant last night, and a man kept spinning the chair next to him. The chair needed oil and made a terrible screeching sound. I pretty much hated that!

Jann: What profession other than your own would you love to attempt?

Tari: I think I’d love to teach elementary school. Especially, 3rd or 4th grade.

Jann: What profession would you hate to do?

Tari: Anything to do with math. I couldn’t be an accountant, it would be very bad.

Thank you, Tari for answering our questions! Tari’s book are shown below. Click on the covers for buy (or free) links.


#12DANCINGSANTAS

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#12DANCINGSANTAS

#FIREWORKS IN THE FOG

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#FIREWORKS IN THE FOG

#HAUNTEDHERMOSA

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#HAUNTEDHERMOSA
#PLEASE SAY YES (#HermosafortheHolidays Book 1)

#SILVER BRACELETS

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#SILVER BRACELETS

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So, how does a romance writer celebrate Valentine’s?

February 10, 2019 by in category Charmed Writer by Tari Lynn Jewett tagged as , , , ,

With the release of a romance novel, an anthology and of course by having her thirty-year romance make the local news.

My first novella, #PleaseSayYes, a romantic comedy released in a limited edition boxed set last year, just in time for Valentine’s, and I’m re-releasing it this week, as a single edition eBook, and it will be available on Amazon later this week or through my website. I had so much fun writing this story, and it’s the first in the #HermosaForTheHolidays series. All of the stories are set in Hermosa Beach, each with a sweet holiday romance as the theme. As Hunky Hubby says, “These are stories you can share with your mother and your daughter” (Yes, he actually does read every word I write.)

Next, of course one release isn’t enough, so our Charmed Writers group is releasing Charmed Writers Presents, Flash Fiction 2019. A collection of 41 stories, by 41 authors, all members of Charmed Writers. There are stories in all genres, fantasy, historical, paranormal, romance, you’re sure to find something you’ll enjoy, and all of the stories take about five minutes to read. And, the authors in this group range from bestselling authors you already know and love, to brand new authors for you to discover! It’s been a labor of love, and A Slice of Orange’s own Marianne H. Donley has been the very heart of this project, making it a true Valentine’s offering. You can get your free copy by joining The Charmed Connection facebook group and asking for it!

And finally, on a more personal level, of course my real-life romance makes the news! In August, Hunky Hubby and I celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary. I posted a photo of our first kiss as man and wife and a kiss on our 30th anniversary, both taken at Shoreline Village, between the tables where we met and one year later were married. Shoreline Village saw my post, and invited us to be the first couple to post our Love Lock on their new Love Lock fence! We were thrilled by the honor, and when we arrived, Melissa from Long Beach Local News (LBLN) and News Director, Ryan McGinnis, were on the scene to interview us and film the event for Channel. We felt like celebrities, and look forward to another reason to spend time at our very favorite place, Shoreline Village.

Thank you to Elaine, Sergio, Debra and everyone at Shoreline Village who made both our wedding in 1988 and our 2019 Valentine’s Celebration so special! I can’t imagine anything more romantic than locking our love right there at the place we met and were married, overlooking the marina.

So, that’s how a romance writer celebrates the most romantic holiday of the year…two book releases, a Love Lock at Shoreline Village, and Valentine’s day hasn’t even happened yet, but I’m looking forward to a romantic evening with Hunky Hubby celebrating more than 31 years of love.

How do you celebrate Valentine’s day? Have you ever put a Love Lock on a fence? In Paris? Italy? New York? If you visit Shoreline Village, you’ll find the lock with our names on it below the plaque on the Love Lock Fence. If you put a lock there, please share a photo in our Facebook group, The Charmed Connection, and tag me!

See the story at Channel LBLN.

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