‘I Want’ Gets Nothing – Jan Baynham
3600 words women’s fiction
Tracey lives in the shadow of her outgoing sister who can do no wrong in their mother’s eyes. When Sharon buys a beautiful gold leather designer handbag on pay day, Tracey becomes obsessed with owning one for herself. But how can she? She’s just a school girl.
“I’m home. Is dinner ready?” My sister, Sharon, burst through the front door making one of her grand entrances. As usual, Mum stopped what she was doing – preparing the evening meal with me in the kitchen – and rushed to see to ‘the favoured one’. “Nearly. Come and sit down, love. You must be shattered after working all day. Trace, make your sister a nice cup of tea, will you?” I gritted my teeth and dutifully did what she asked. “My feet are killing me,” said Sharon. Well, if you will wear six inch Louboutins to the office, what do you expect? I thought. I placed two mugs of tea on the coffee table and turned to go back to the kitchen. “Thanks, Sis. Come and join us.”
And Then There Were Two – Jan Baynham
1900 words Women’s Fiction
Twelve year old Jack is finding it difficult at home since his mother left. He is miserable; nothing is going right for him. After a row with his father, strange things start happening. It is Friday 13th, after all! Can he and his father learn to trust each other again?
The day had gone from bad to worse; he’d missed the school bus, got detention after fighting with some boys from the class above, and to cap it all he’d lost his door key. He had to get his father home from work to let him in the house and his father was not best pleased. Since his parents had split up three months ago and his mother had left him with his father, Jack just never seemed to get things right. He knew that his dad blamed him for the break-up. I was always giving Mum back-chat; I must have tipped her over the edge, he thought. He knew his dad thought that too even though he hadn’t said in so many words. His behaviour had been unreasonable, he had to admit.
Came as ‘Me’, Left as ‘We’ – 21 stories to escape with
‘This Land is My Land’ and ‘Came as ‘me’, Left as ‘we’’ are ‘his and hers’ holiday reads from Alfie Dog Fiction. The collections bring together some of the best short stories from 37 authors across the globe.
‘Came as ‘me’, Left as ‘we’’ contains a mixture of women’s fiction, feel good stories and romance, while ‘This Land is My Land’ is more action and adventure driven and both contain stories to leave the reader thinking. Alfie Dog Fiction’s managing director, Rosemary Kind, says “We know from our readers that they like to stock up on reading matter for their holidays and these collections offer the perfect way to do just that.”
Both collections have a truly international feel, not only through the spread of the writers but the fascinating backdrops to the stories. Within the pages the reader will travel from diamond mining in Australia to a lone tree in an African desert, from the quintessential English seaside Pier to the jungles of Malaysia and coast to coast across America.
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Stories Included: Came as ‘Me’ and Left as ‘We’ – Caroline Scott Collins, Swept Away – Patsy Collins, Signwriting – Angela K Blackburn, Moving On – Jan Baynham, The Button Box – Tina K Burton, The End-of-the-pier Show – Derek Haycock, Marie’s Necklace – Annette Siketa, Nice – Judith Bruton, Coffee with Luna – Jeff Williams, Taking Time – Lilliana Rose, Losing the Past – Tricia Maw, Sam Something – Kate Blackadder, Celebrity Kennels – Gill McKinlay, Something to Move You – Alice Parrant, Pier into the Future – Susan Jones, The Decision – Patricia Fawcett, A Past Life – Susan Wright, Diamond Trail – Suzie Hindmarsh-Knights, Those Pesky Kids – Maggie Jones, The Embers of the Day – Rosemary J Kind, Amanda – Chris Cooke
Meet Me By The Jacaranda Tree – Jan Baynham
Lucy needs to get right away after her husband has betrayed her again and she travels to the island of Madeira. When he follows her there, will she have the strength to resist him? How does a beautiful Jacaranda tree influence her decision?
‘Meet me by the Jacaranda tree in the Jardim Municipal,’ his message had said. How dare he? He was still treating me as if he owned me, same old Rob. How did he find out where I’d gone? So much for swearing all our friends to secrecy. I’d had to get away. I hoped that the sunshine and the beauty of the island would lighten my mood. It was as if a solid stone was weighted inside my chest since I found out, since I’d found them together. I’d been so stupid, hadn’t I?
Missing Without Trace – Jan Baynham
2400 words Crime Story
Homeward bound, Lizzie and Mark’s car is nearly driven off the road by an erratic driver. Lizzie is adamant she’s travelled in the Classic blue and white Ford car before when it was brand new. But how can that be? That time was thirty years before she was even born.
Moving On – Jan Baynham
2000 words Women’s Fiction
Claire is finding life difficult since breaking up with James. Leaving the memories and loneliness of London behind, she returns to her home town. Can a friendship with the unlikeliest of companions help her to put her life back on track and move on? Will she make the right decision?
This story is available in the collection Came as ‘Me’ Left as ‘We’
Winter had arrived with a vengeance that year. It was another bleak, December day and it reflected Claire’s mood. A solid stone weighed heavy inside her chest. Every morning when she opened her eyes, she felt a black emptiness and even a disappointment that she had woken up at all. A profound dread that she was going to have to make it through the day would envelop her; since she had returned to live near her home town a year ago, she had been having more and more of these grey days.
Rock-a-Bye Baby – Jan Baynham
2600 word Ghost Story
Ali and Ben are awaiting the birth of their first child. The baby’s bedroom in Rock Cottage is freshly decorated and everything is ready. Mums-to-be are supposed to be excited, aren’t they? So why did Ali feel so uneasy? Was it just over-tiredness like Ben said?
Ali put down the roller into the tray of creamy vanilla white paint and straightened her aching back. ‘There, Bubs, all done. Just the alphabet frieze to go on now and you can make an appearance any time,’ she said patting her swollen stomach. And that can’t be soon enough for me, she thought. She stood back and admired her handiwork. The baby’s bedroom had been her project. It was now light and fresh, so different from the dated décor of the dingy bedroom they’d inherited. With Ben’s help, she’d even stripped the floorboards back to the original pine and waxed them lovingly to a silky gleam.
Santa Calls – Jan Baynham
The festive season is in full swing but Mary’s heart is not in it this year. She goes through the motions of buying a tree and decorating the house but memories of happy Christmases past reinforce the fact this one will be different. How can Steve help lift her mood?
“Isn’t it about time we bought a tree, Mary?” I looked at Steve and knew I should be making more of an effort. “We could go this afternoon, if you like.” I tried to make my voice as cheery as possible but nothing could disguise the fact that my heart just wasn’t in it this year. Every time I’d ventured out of the house lately I was reminded that the festive season was in full swing…but without me. The shops had been full of gaudy colour and glittery decorations for months and if I heard another rendition of ‘Jingle Bells’ I thought I’d scream. What had happened to the true meaning of Christmas? Why did everything have to be so showy and over the top?
Sledging in Mansell’s Field – Jan Baynham
1800 words Women’s Fiction
Sledging was the favourite winter pastime when Sandra was a girl. Every child in her village would welcome a heavy fall of snow for one reason, and one reason only. She had something to prove but there was one important obstacle in her way. Would she do it this year?
I rushed to the window and scratched at the ice that had formed in a thick crackled layer inside each pane. We had no heating upstairs and my breath looked like steam as I blew on the glass. The warmth of my fingers soon melted enough of a shape for me to see out. Yes, I was right. Everywhere was covered in a soft white carpet. The snow was thick enough to halt the movement of both vehicles and people so I was hoping that it was deep enough to close the school too!
The Day Death Wore Boots – A Collection of Ghost Stories
Find out if the miniature Western town is really a toy in the title story. Was Jed Holloway’s death really down to faulty brakes – The Haunted Rig? You want to go home from your holiday in the Costa Del Sol but is it safe – Spanish Midnight? Does it matter that you don’t believe in ghosts when the ghost believes in you – Shard?
From Pompeii to the Wild West, from Australia to the shores of the United Kingdom the spirit world may be closer than you think!
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The Journey Home – Jan Baynham
On the way to their cottage after a busy working week in London, Sophie and Tom give a lift to a teenage girl. Why is she out alone on a cold night, dressed in a flimsy dress? Why are they so uneasy when they drop her off at her home?
‘Let’s go through the lanes,’ Sophie said. ‘It’s been such a stressful week in work. I couldn’t think of anything worse than sitting in a Friday night traffic jam on the motorway. I just want to get to the cottage, light the fire and open that bottle of red you’ve promised me.’ She looked across at the smiling face of her husband. ‘Ok, but don’t blame me if you start imagining the shapes of the trees are evil spirits about to attack you, then,’ Tom said, teasing her. They always used to go that way but Sophie knew he’d never let her forget the last time they’d taken the ‘scenic’ route.
Unfinished Business – Jan Baynham
1600 words Women’s Fiction
Kathy will never settle until she finds her cat, Monty. She ventures out of the house in the dark and in atrocious weather to look for him. But will she be able to face her fears as she nears the end of the street and enter the place she dreads?
Kathy knew she wouldn’t settle until she found Monty so, even though it was almost dark, she put on her coat and scarf and left the house. I’ll leave the light on, she thought, telling herself it was for Monty but deep down she knew it was for her own benefit. That was one of the things she hated since John had gone coming back to a dark empty house. And knowing the night ahead would be a lonely one. Just lately, her beloved cat-companion, her reason not to go under, had begun disappearing. These were not just his normal mousing trips which lasted a few hours when he slinked back through the cat flap with his trophies all covered in blood.
Whispers in the Olive Trees – Jan Baynham
3000 words Women’s Fiction
Following in her mother’s footsteps a generation before, Alex travels to the Peloponnese region of Greece searching for answers. What changed Elin’s life forever in the summer of ‘69? Will Alex find out who the mysterious C. is? Why does an old lady verbally attack her on the beach?
I’d never been to Greece before. The heat was a shock as I walked down the lane to the beach where the air shimmered in a haze. Bubbles of tar oozed, forming black sticky streams that flowed to the gutters on either side. I shielded my eyes and squinted into the distance. White-washed buildings appeared out of focus, gleaming like sugar lumps in the sunlight. So this was where she spent the summer that was to change her life for ever.
Woven With Love – Jan Baynham
When Eduardo leaves on a long fishing trip, Madalena presents him with a token of her love which it is said will protect him on his voyage, returning him to her safely. Having had to keep their love a secret, can the young couple overcome opposition to be together forever?
‘There, all done,’ said Madalena, as she knotted the last stitch. She turned the small piece of cloth over, smoothed it out with her hand and admired her handiwork. She carefully placed in the chest drawer where prying eyes would not see it. Madalena was nineteen, the youngest in the family and the only one still living at home. She had lost her job when the local canning factory had closed and the loss of her much needed wages had plunged the family into further hardship. Her dingy room at the back of the cottage was the only place where she could have any peace.