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Syndicate – Patsy Collins

The Syndicate1200 words Women’s Fiction

Marie couldn’t understand why Sheila had pushed her into running the syndicate, until after she’d messed it up. Sheila must have guessed she would.

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I never wanted to do it, but I was made to run the lottery syndicate. Why on earth was I asked? My filing is disorganised, I’m always forgetting important things and since I started this, I’ve dreaded the day disaster strikes. Sheila engineered it. “Marie should do it, she’s so good with people I’m sure she would love to be asked,” I heard her saying to our boss Mrs Rogers. I tried to say no, but the only response was, “Oh come on there’s no need for false modesty.”

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Tainted Water Patsy Collins

2800 words Ghost

Rachel’s happy family life in her new home seems under threat from those who’re so against outsiders that they’d even risk poisoning them. If that wasn’t enough she had to deal with an interfering mother-in-law and a neighbouring sickly child that only she seems to notice.

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Rachel took her tea outside; she deserved a break. Every surface was washed down, every packing crate opened and the contents put away. There was much more to do, but it could wait. Rachel daydreamed of the beautiful garden she hoped to create; vibrant spring bulbs, scented roses for summer, a blaze of autumn glory and a few evergreens for winter. “Co-ee,” a familiar voice interrupted her thoughts, “are you there, Rachel?” “Coming, Mum,” Rachel called to her mother-in-law. “Gosh, this place is looking better. You’ve done wonders.” “Well, I’ve made a start.”

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Telling the Truth – Patsy Collins

770 words Women’s Fiction

To get rid of Justin, I was going to have to prove my cottage wasn’t haunted. Tricky as the ghosts were what persuaded him to move in.

Included in the Collection ‘The Day Death wore Boots’

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I’d had a rotten day at work; all I wanted to do was sling something in the microwave for tea and slump in front of the television. The Ghost Buster song blared. I didn’t answer, just switched my phone to silent. “Don’t bring that in here,” Justin said, pointing at my mobile. “Why not?” I asked. “Because of the electro-magnetic field.” “What are you on about, now?”

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The Copier – Patsy Collins

The Copier900 words Women’s Fiction

There was no real harm in going for a drink with Peter Langdon, even if he did whisper in her ear rather than shout over the music.

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“The photocopier has broken down again, Angela,” the office manager moans. “Never mind, if you’ve got anything that needs doing I’ll take it over to accounts.” “You’re a star, you never complain about having to trudge over there.” I like to use the copier in the accounts department. It’s in a narrow corridor. People have difficulty walking past without making physical contact. Peter Langdon doesn’t have that problem. He doesn’t make any attempt to stop his thigh brushing against my hip.

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The Day Death Wore Boots – A Collection of Ghost Stories

cover smallThe Day Death Wore Boots – ghost stories to leave you looking… and wondering…

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!

Paperback sales UK ONLY – the book will be sent to your Paypal address unless advised otherwise.

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The First Day – Patsy Collins

3000 words Women’s Fiction

Mavis plans for her death to echo her life. She should feel nothing but a cold, empty loneliness. However, plans do not go the way she intended.

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Mavis removes yesterday’s tiny sheet from her quotation calendar. She folds the paper neatly and places it into her pedal bin. As always another pathetic cliché is revealed. ‘Today is the first day of the rest of your life,’ is the offering for Tuesday April the fifth. Technically that is true she concedes, but it will be a short new beginning. Today she is going to jump. She’ll get the bus as usual into Gosport. Her ferry ticket will be punched and she will step onboard for the short crossing. Once in Portsmouth she’ll walk down past Gunwharf Quays. The bars and shops will still be closed. The first members of staff might just be unlocking.

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The Garden Party – Patsy Collins

2000 words Women’s Fiction

“Surely nothing else is so truly English as elderflower cordial sipped from crystal glasses, in a fabulous cottage garden.”

This story is included in the collection Up The Garden Path

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Donald said the suggestion from his father, that they go and watch the football match together, was unexpected. I don’t believe him. I think he’s deliberately left me alone with his mother. We don’t dislike each other, but we’re not friends, as he would like us to be. This could be a tedious afternoon. We have discussed our respective husbands’ love of a game neither of us understands. We’ve swapped a few uninteresting pieces of domestic news. She is thinking of buying a new sofa. My new microwave oven is much easier to operate than the last one. Three hours the men will be gone. We only have another two hours and fifty-seven minutes to fill.

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The Gift of Understanding – Patsy Collins

1500 words Feel Good Story

Dominic said he loved her as she was and as long as she was happy nothing else mattered. Trouble was, Vicky wasn’t happy and he wasn’t helping.

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“Happy Easter, darling.” Dominic handed his wife a beautifully wrapped parcel. It was about the size and shape of an egg box. Vickie gritted her teeth as she took the gift from him. It was heavy and by the feel she guessed it was six Creme Eggs. Vickie had always loved Creme Eggs; until she’d started her diet that was. She didn’t need to look them up in her calorie list to know they weren’t something she should be eating. It wasn’t even as though she could just break off a small piece at a time. With a Creme Egg any normal person had to eat the whole thing at once. Any person with willpower like Vickie’s had to eat the whole pack in a very short space of time.

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The Painting – Patsy Collins

2100 word Women’s Fiction

Becky was beginning to hate the painting and the arguments it caused. If she had to have it in the house, it was going in the cupboard under the stairs.

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“Did you remember that Mum’s bringing the painting when she comes for lunch?” Jeremy said. “I’m hardly likely to forget, am I?” Becky answered. Even without the added complication of the painting, Angela, Jeremy’s mother wasn’t an easy guest. There was her insistence on proper British food for one thing; Angela was obsessive. Becky tried to buy local, ethically produced food. She avoided battery produced eggs and potatoes flown half way round the world, but sometimes she didn’t have time to check every label and occasionally, as a treat in winter, she bought imported fruit. Angela considered such lapses indicated a person unworthy of the painting. Becky made a mental note to allow an extra hour for the shopping and ensure there were no labels that could possibly offend Angela.

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The Scent of Lilac – Patsy Collins

880 word Ghost Story

Agatha Myrtle Galbraith had been a cruel bully in life. In death she was little better. Maybe if Primrose can call her back she can persuade Agatha to finally stop tormenting her family.

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“Mum, what was Grandma’s full name?” As Primrose spoke, a heavy perfume filled the room. “Agatha Myrtle Galbraith, why, Love?” “If we’re going to apologise we should get things right.” “Primrose, are you sure you want to do this?” “What can you smell?” “Lilac.” “What can you hear?” “Your sisters, crying.” “Then what choice do I have?” “You’re sure Grandma is really haunting the twins? Perhaps they’re just frightened because they saw her die.”

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The Spirit of the Christmas Present – Patsy Collins

1500 words Feel Good

Finding suitable gifts when you’re not prepared to spend more than a few pennies is difficult. When the gift is for your only friend, it’s almost impossible.

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Vicki dashed to the toilet. Her hasty exit was nothing to do with the reduced-price seafood salad she’d had for lunch. Vicki had seen a colleague approach with a sponsorship form. The woman had told everyone how she planned to run ten miles to raise money for some African child’s eye operation. Charity should begin at home, that was Vicki’s motto. When she returned to the office, Vicki’s friend, Philippa, asked if she felt ill. Philippa was the only one to show concern; the rest of their colleagues were discussing the Christmas party.

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Thinking Things Through – Patsy Collins

1300 words Women’s Fiction

Marion’s husband said she didn’t think things through. If he’d known what was going on in her head he might have kept quiet.

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Marion admired the art deco inspired picture frame she’d made. She was very proud of it. Almost exactly a year ago, she’d seen one on television and begun to dream of creating something as beautiful. Marion placed the frame onto the mantelpiece, next to the brass casket of ashes. The frame needed a picture; she must look through her photographs for something suitable. The casket reminded Marion of the events that caused her return to jewellery design.

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Three for a Girl – Patsy Collins

800 words Women’s Fiction

Maureen knew her daughter was being well cared for in hospital, but she still couldn’t help feeling nervous and wishing she’d seen two magpies, not just one.

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There wasn’t really room for pacing up and down in the small caravan, but Maureen was doing her best. Impatiently she glanced out of every window, but the pretty view of green trees and blue skies did nothing to soothe her frazzled nerves. About an hour previously she’d spotted a single magpie. One for sorrow.

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Timing – Patsy Collins

2000 words Women’s Fiction

Timing is everything. It’s the difference between a skiing trip in Bern and a train ride to Birmingham, between happiness and getting trapped in the wrong life.

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“In order to provide a safe and punctual service for all our passengers, train doors will close thirty seconds before departure. Please plan sufficient time for your journey,” the announcement reminds me. I look up at the boards to check which platform my train leaves from. I have to squint to read it from back here. If I get any closer, I risk getting bumped into by the crowds of people checking details and rushing off without a thought to the injured ribs and shoulder of the woman behind them. Platform eight in twenty minutes. Good, that gives me time to buy a book, although not long to make a selection.

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Tina’s Transformation – Patsy Collins

1500 words Women’s Fiction

Ten Years ago Dean Cassidy had ruined her life. Now Tina had the chance to give him a little taste of how that felt.

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“The gorgeous new guy I was telling you about is coming along the corridor now,” Becky said from her vantage point by the photocopier. Tina rushed over to look through the office doorway. She blinked as the tall, blond, young man walked past; could it really be who she thought it was? “Hey, stop drooling. I saw him first,” Becky joked. Realising she’d been staring, Tina returned to her desk. “I wasn’t drooling.”

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Too Good To Be True – Patsy Collins

1200 words Women’s fiction

Beverley had learned that anything that seemed too good to be true always was – which is why she won’t marry her perfect boyfriend.

 

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Dear friend, i am contacting you because i have $600,000 (six hundred thousand american dollars) that i need to pay into an account outside Nigeria. this is absolutely legal and NOT a scam. the money belongs to my family and as a reward for helping us, we would offer you 10 % (ten per cent) … Beverley deleted the e-mail scam. How did anyone ever fall for them? They were obviously too good to be true. Even little kids knew not to take sweets from strangers. Surely everyone knew anything that seemed unbelievable, actually was?

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Treasure Hunt – Patsy Collins

2000 words Women’s Fiction

Sylvie’s life is like a movie – a bad one. Can she overcome her shyness and feelings of inadequacy just long enough to rewrite the script so there’s a happy ever after by the time the credits roll?

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My life resembles a badly clichéd movie. I’m so great at my temporary job I’m begged to stay permanently. I advance to management, get a company car and huge salary. I’m so pretty the office heart-throb is always pursuing me. I turn him down as I’m engaged to a rock star. Then I wake and it was all a dream. The reality is less good. I’m standing in for a lady who’s on maternity leave. She brought her baby in yesterday, saying she couldn’t wait to return. I don’t have friends here, they’re pleasant enough, but that’s just good manners. I didn’t want to come on this silly team building day.

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Tricks ‘n’ Treats – Patsy Collins

1000 words Humour

Diane wanted to enjoy the fun of nights like Hallowe’en, but with Mike so miserable that wasn’t easy, but it didn’t stop her entering into the spirit of the occasion.  Then just when she least expected it, Mike decided to come home early with ideas of his own.

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“Look at this, isn’t it cute?” Diane held up a jelly Dracula. “No it’s not and you’re not seven. Put it back,” her husband said. “Yes, Dad,” she said and stuck out her tongue. “You’re so childish,” Mike complained. “And you’re no fun at all.” “Would you like any help with your packing?” asked the cashier. “No thanks,” they said together and exchanged tight smiles. “Sorry, love,” Mike said as he carried their bags to the car. “I don’t mean to be so miserable…”

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True Romance – Patsy Collins

1500 words Romance

Rose was a nice girl and not hideous or anything, even so Sandy couldn’t understand how she’d suddenly become irresistible to men … and what had happened to all those cats?

 

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“Good weekend?” I asked young Rose, not expecting anything more exciting than the latest news about her mother and the cats. “Wonderful, thank you, Sandy. I went camping with Claud. He’s a fireman and a real outdoorsy type. We climbed a mountain for the clear air and the wonderful views. Then went swimming in a lake.” She giggled. “We didn’t have any swimming costumes so we were … uh, you know …” “You went skinny dipping?”

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Trying to Be Nice – Patsy Collins

1200 words Feel Good

There’s a reason Daryl doesn’t listen or pay attention to others; when he does he learns something he didn’t want to know.

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I missed the train by seconds. The guard saw me though, I swear he did. Looked through me like I was a ghost. Would he stop the train? Oh no. The schedule’s far more important than the needs of a customer. Doesn’t matter that I might have had something important to do. That’s how things are at present. Nothing works out for me. Even actual presents. Gave one to Joanna for Valentine’s, but she gave it back. “It’s not appropriate, Darryl.” “What’s not appropriate about a nice gold chain with my name on it?”

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Uncle’s House – Patsy Collins

1400 word Crime Story

Uncle Alfred always thought we could pick ourselves up from whatever life threw at us. He was wrong – a fact that was very useful to me.

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I looked at the house and then back to the estate agents notes in my hands. Could this dingy depressing place really be worth £340,000? That sum of money would make a huge difference to my business. I was doing OK but a cash injection like that would put me on a whole new level. Help pick me up, as Uncle Alfred would say. I walked on to my Uncle’s house just three doors down. His was the end of the row, a little larger, a little more valuable.

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Up the Garden Path – Patsy Collins

UTGP - cover ebook etcTwo ‘5 star reviews’ on Amazon

A Collection of 24 stories.

Eleanor has a traditional garden her grandchildren will love; won’t they? Mrs Dalrymple’s country home seems the perfect refuge for Daryl and there’s no reason Emma can’t call the big house home, is there?

Homes and gardens aren’t always peaceful havens though. Ted’s tranquility is under threat from a BBQ for teenage twins, Penny the Jack Russell is called upon to protect her mistress from a terrifying intruder, avoiding Frances’s annoying neighbour was almost the death of her and Rachel can’t bring herself to step out the back door.

A walk in the countryside might be less traumatic, unless your beloved tree has been damaged as badly as your heart or Mrs Bishop is lurking to find fault with all you do. Even the simple act of arranging flowers causes problems if your boss is as mean as Brenda’s.

Valerie managed to dig herself out of depression on her allotment but Sally was faced with the perils of half an hour in the potting shed with the attractive yet infuriating Jim.

Gardens, plants and people all have their story. Let me lead you up the garden path and tell you a few.

Paperback sales UK ONLY – the book will be sent to your Paypal address unless advised otherwise.

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Stories included: Going Green, Winter Damage, Digging For Victory, Blooming Talent, Busy Body, Delphine, Ethel and I.T. , Flowers for Milly, Your Granddad’s Stuck Up a Tree Again, Full Indian Headdress, Party Surprise, Mrs Dalrymple, The Scent of Home, A Piece of Pink Ribbon, Nice Weather for it, Organised, The Garden, Tainted Water, Coming Home, Watchdog, Easter at Eleanor’s, Goodbye to the Old Number Thirty-Seven, Strawberry Jam, The Boarhunt Oak

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Vanished – Patsy Collins

Vanished1500 words Women’s Fiction

Maz and Maggie both used the same bus stop which made Maggie think they had things in common. Maz thought her life was very different from the old lady’s but that didn’t stop them becoming friends or prevent Maz worrying when Maggie vanished.

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Maz was disappointed Maggie wasn’t waiting at the bus-stop. Over the last fortnight, Maz had worried about the old lady, but now something was obviously very wrong. She couldn’t explain why, but she felt a connection to Maggie, almost as though anything bad that happened to Maggie might affect Maz. Maz had first seen Maggie six months ago. Maz caught the 32 into town which got her to work just about on time. Maggie used the 17. Maz felt sorry for the old lady the first time she’d seen her, bundled up against the cold weather of early spring. How awful to be old and cold and alone.

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Watchdog – Patsy Collins

2000 words Women’s fiction

Katie and Dave gave me little Penny for company and to bark at intruders after I’d had a scare one night. If I’d known then who the intruder was, I’d never have agreed to owning a dog.

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I heard the scrunch of hurried footsteps on the gravel and then the click as the security light switched on. “It’s us Mum,” Katie called out. At the reassuring sound of her voice, I opened my eyes and relaxed my grip of the wooden chair arm. “Mum it’s OK, we’re here. Are you hurt?” Katie asked, as she let herself and Dave, her husband into my house. “Not hurt, just a bit shaken up,” I told her. “Of course you are,” she said as she hugged me. “I expect they’ve gone now though.”

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Waving Goodbye – Patsy Collins

Waving Goodbye1500 words Feel Good Fiction

Marjorie enjoyed sitting with Bert watching the sun sink into the sea. It didn’t really matter the sea was the Solent and not the Caribbean or Indian Ocean.

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“I have a surprise for you,” Bert said. Just for a moment, Marjorie experienced that once familiar feeling of disappointment, but history couldn’t be repeating itself, not now. Bert had left the Navy more than twenty years ago. He couldn’t possibly be about to go away on duty. He couldn’t be about to sail into the sunset, leaving her waving from the shore. “It can’t wait until tomorrow?” she asked, wondering what difference a day could make.

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