A Cunning Plan – Susan Wright

2300 words Women’s Fiction

Lucy is having lunch with her grandmother in a local pub. She thinks they have gone out to lunch instead of having their usual sandwiches because her grandmother has run out of bread, but it turns out that Joan has a cunning plan.

This story is included in the collection Six Stupid Sheep and Other Yarns

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Lucy had never been in The Red Lion before. She’d walked past it a few times in the past and concluded that it looked a bit of a dump, but it was actually quite nice inside, and there were loads of tempting dishes on the menu, but she was finding it very hard to decide what she should have to eat. She needed to concentrate, but her grandmother hadn’t stopped talking since they’d walked into the pub. First she’d gone on, in a very loud voice, about the landlord and his seedy past, then she’d moved on to her bunions and what the chiropodist had said, and for the last five minutes or so she’d been acting like a teenager and eyeing up all the single men!

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A Cushy Number – Terence Brand

2000 words General Fiction

Tells how Senior Aircraftsman John Newton, an engine mechanic by trade, came to be working in RAF Changi’s Technical Wing Disciplinary Office and how he schemed to make his unofficial position permanent.

This story is included in the collection On the Changi Beat – 1961-1962

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I flew into RAF Changi, Singapore on a moonlit April evening in 1961. After twenty-one hours cooped up with a score of squabbling RAF families, I desperately needed fresh air. Stepping eagerly onto the aircraft’s gangway, I took a deep breath – and choked. You can cut Singapore’s atmosphere with a knife. Even at nine in the evening humidity tops ninety percent. Having spent a restless night sharing a hut with a tribe of lively cockroaches, I reported to the Station Warrant Officer’s headquarters to collect my blue ticket. Still itching with revulsion, I bent the admin sergeant’s ear. “That vermin infested transit billet should be condemned, Sarge. It’s bloody disgusting.”

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A Dark / Sunny Day – Peter Pitt

2200 words General / Historical Fiction

Usually, if you want to vote, you go to a polling station set up in a school or church hall, but in 1938, Stefan journeyed to Tilbury and boarded a German Cruise Ship, to be able to cast his vote outside British Territorial Waters. Janet, his young wife, is worried when he doesn’t return home on time.

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‘Surely this trip is a waste of time?’ Janet said as she placed a plate of bacon and egg on the kitchen table. ‘Hitler marched into Austria a month ago, didn’t he?’ ‘I know,’ Stefan said excitedly, ‘That doesn’t mean all Austrians want the Germans there.’ Stefan spoke English with only a slight accent, but when annoyed or excited, as now, his accent become more pronounced. ‘I have been lucky to be given the chance to vote, many other subjects over here haven’t had that chance as there’s only so many the ship can carry.

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A Different Kind of Enemy – Patsy Collins

1500 words Women’s Fiction

You can’t expect others to keep rules you break or to win battles you have no intention of fighting.

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My name is Matthew King; no one calls me that though. My parent’s called me Mattie right from the start. That’s what my wife, God rest her, called me too. The lads, when I joined up called me ‘Super’ on account of the super king sized cigarettes I’d smoke whenever I got hold of them. Usually it was just roll ups, but you know the military, never let the truth get in the way of a good story. Most often these days I’m called Gramps. That suits me just fine; I’m pleased that my daughter’s boy spends so much time with me.

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A Dog Called Cat – Tracey Glasspool

1040 words Children 3 – 7 years

Digger is in the doghouse. He has eaten the sausages, chewed dad’s slippers and tiddled on the kitchen floor. Digger decides that being a dog isn’t much fun anymore – but what should he be instead?

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Digger the dog sat in the garden. His ears drooped, his tail drooped, even his whiskers drooped. “Outside!” Mum had shouted. “You are a very naughty dog!” Digger hadn’t meant to eat the sausages that had been left out for tea. He hadn’t meant to chew Dad’s favourite slippers. And he really hadn’t meant to tiddle on Mum’s clean kitchen floor. “I don’t want to be a dog anymore,” he said. He padded off, thinking about what he could be instead.

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A Dog For All Reasons – Peter Lingard

2200 words Women’s Fiction / Feel Good / Humour

A man is left with a dog his wife brought into their lives.  The animal helps him readjust and eventually find happiness.

Read the reviews HERE

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I laughed at her outrageous statement and made wagers with her to win my prize. I got her inebriated. I challenged her to nude wrestling matches and other transparent games and she laughed at me. When I said it was time to stop the games, she said, “Not until we get a dog.” The dog was a Welsh corgi and he was the right size for our garden flat. He was farm-born, a few weeks old and nameless when he came into our lives.

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A Dog’s Life – Linda Louisa Dell

700 words Women’s Fiction

Life can be very hard living with an ‘alpha’ male and when that man gets himself a tough-looking dog to match his image it can be a recipe for trouble, but not necessarily the trouble you expect!

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He didn’t need much of an excuse; if there wasn’t a beer waiting for him or his dinner on the table, he’d had a bad day at work or just had too much to drink; I was always the one that bore the brunt of it.

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A Done Deal – Cath Delaney

780 words Feel Good

Sally views a television programme on arranged marriages with horror. But her mother, Kate, had visited India and met a woman who gave her a different perspective on the practice. It was to change more than one life…

 

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Sally rolls her eyes as the credits roll up the television screen. “Thank goodness I was born here,” she says. “Imagine not choosing your own husband.” The documentary about arranged marriages had been fascinating stuff. “Just think who I could have ended up with if you had arranged my marriage.” Sally laughs. “Some boring nerd with a steady job, no doubt. It doesn’t bear thinking about.”

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A Fairy Godmother Calls – Cath Delaney

1540 words Fairytale

Jean firmly does not believe in Fairies, Ghosts or anything supernatural. But when a disembodied voice visits her and reminds her of past events, she is thrown into confusion. A long walk with her dog, Sam, is required to clear her head. But the voice has other ideas…

 

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“Lovely day, isn’t it?” Jean almost dropped the plates she was putting in the sink. Who on earth could that be? A quick glance at the glass kitchen door confirmed there was no unexpected visitor. As she looked round, Jean frowned. She could have sworn she’d heard a voice. But she was quite alone in the house and the lane at the end of the garden path was quiet this early on a Sunday morning. ‘I’m hearing things, I must be getting old and daft,’ Jean decided, shaking her head. And she had indeed just been thinking what a lovely day it was. Winter had come early but it was sunny and crisp, with frost on the branches and hedgerows.

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A Fellow Named Garbage – Clayton Elliott

8000 words Literary Fiction

In the world of the itinerant of New York City, anonymity is a way of life, and practically guaranteed. Until your past catches up to remind you of who you were, and the costs you left unpaid. In 1963 the world Garbage left behind, in shame and cowardice, comes rushing back, and entangles his new family in debts of blood and life.

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1963 – In the alleys of New York City the desperate and the disparaged make their homes. Some are there of their own volition, but most are not. Some think that life on the street is better than living under the watchful and intrusive eye of Big Brother, but most are too destitute to do anything otherwise. In the time of this story there is a band of the homeless that rules the alleys. They have, in their time, become too influential to be bothered with the likes of the police (who believe it is better that they occupy those paths, rather than something much worse), or ‘the bosses’ (whose men have suffered so many beatings at their hands that they find it easier to peddle their disservices elsewhere).

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A Fine Big Chick – Vivienne Holmes

900 words Children 5 – 8 years

Mrs Wagtail loves to boast.  When her only son Ciaran is born she bores all the other birds with details of how big and advanced he is.  She is in for a shock when she discovers her fine son is in fact a cuckoo.

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“Mrs Wagtail is a very silly bird,” Rosie the Robin complained to her husband. “What has she done now?” asked Henry Robin. “She is such a snob. She is always boasting. She thinks she is better than the other birds. She says her nest is bigger. It is better built than ours. Now, she says her chick has hatched already, before everyone else.”

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A Fishy Father’s Day – Maria Deitrick

500 words Children 4 – 6 years

When Molly gives her dad a homemade coupon book for Father’s Day, she can’t wait for him to use the Buddy For a Day coupon. The problem is Molly hates fishing, which is exactly what her dad wants to use his coupon for. Molly’s attitude and events make the day horrible, until she realizes how her behavior affects her dad.

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“Come on, Dad, just open it,” Molly squeaked. She couldn’t wait for him to open the Father’s Day present she made him. “I’m trying, but you wrapped it too good, Molly,” Dad teased. When he finally got it open, Molly dove right in to show him everything.

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A Flower for Skalla – Alpha Writers Group

skalla paperback13500 words Science Fiction Novella – all proceeds to charity

The City has become a bleak place since the Patreen invasion. Patreen stewards patrol the streets, while the original inhabitants, the Nasoots, are forced into exile or live as outlaws in the labyrinthine tunnels under the City. Only a handful of Nasoots remain in the City, where their superior technological skills are required by the Patreens. When the Nasoots invent a humoid far superior to the standard android, their plans to liberate the City from Patreen dominance take off with surprising results. Skalla, a young Nasoot girl, sparks off the liberation as she gradually discovers things that were outlawed in the oppressive City.

‘A Flower for Skalla’ is a collaborative writing project from Alpha Writers Group – it’s a science fiction story where each writer developed a new and exciting twist in the evolving plot.
All royalties go to Macmillan Cancer Support.

For paperback sales please use your local Amazon store HERE.

 

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A Forgotten Key – Gerard Taylor Wallace

5490 words General Fiction

A young child’s heart; a punk looking squirrel; an old rusted key; lead a broken family to a journey that promises more. Little Pete takes them to the quiet sea of the hidden heart.

This story is included in the collection This Land is My Land

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Surely there are promises and joys that wait unknown to us in days and years, and even the moments ahead. With this assurance of something more, the knowing of a need or hope soon to be realized, it is just and natural that more often than not, our eyes and hearts are cast there: in these tomorrows we’ve yet to know. How boldly and beautifully this is portrayed in the color and want of children’s dreams, how safely their eyes are turned to the morrow. Still, amidst this simple truth, it is at times not only necessary, but also wise that we turn and find what was lost, in the moments and years now hidden.

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A Fresh Start – Michele Dunn

1600 words Romance

It’s never too late to change the direction of your life. David wasn’t happy with his job, his love life, or his living situation and that’s exactly what he decided to do. The results were certainly life changing.

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Everything in my life had become a merry-go-round of nothingness.  No girlfriend, no car, no home.  Living with my mum once again at the age of twenty-nine was not how I pictured my life.  The only thing that saved me from total depression was my degree in Architecture.  It was the one thing that allowed me to keep following my dreams despite all the setbacks that have plagued me for the last three years, leading me to this point.   I hated my job.  Yes, I was working in my chosen field, but I was under-utilised and had no control over any project that I worked on.  I was merely a pencil-pusher, drawing the visions of somebody else’s design. 

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A Friend and Colleague – Patsy Collins

1900 words Women’s Fiction

Jess felt so sorry for Lilly. The older woman was retiring soon and would have an empty life – so why did she seem to think Jess was the one in need of help?

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“I feel so sorry for poor Lilly Forrester, she’s worked here for years,” Jess said. “Don’t worry, we’ll give her a really good send off,” her boss, Sasha, said. “Is that a good idea? She’ll be reminded of what she’ll be missing.” “I don’t think that’ll worry her, Jess!” Jess was only twenty, but felt great sympathy for poor Lilly’s plight. Jess would miss more than just her wages if she lost her own job at Invite an Impression printers. Lilly must be dreading retirement. Jess tried talking to her.

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A Girl Named Rebecca – Debora St Fleurose

2000 words Teen Fiction / Women’s Fiction

There comes a time in everyone’s life when they feel discouraged. Even when they succeed, the euphoria only lasts for so long. They’re smiling, but it could be because the smiling is to hide their unhappiness. You never know a person’s situation unless you’re faced with it yourself. Rebecca Parker’s been faced with several challenges due to her being different. This story shows that anyone, no matter race, structure, religion, or gender, can become who they want to be if they follow their heart and cast their doubts into the dark.

Rebecca Josephine Parker was a daydreamer. Whenever her mind had the chance to wander, it always did, whether she was in the middle of class or on a roller coaster in Six Flags or chatting up her best guy friend, Blake. Blake sat in front of her in theatre, aloof and laid back as usual. He was not the least bit dramatic in reality, but when Blake was on stage it took your breath away. Rebecca loved him. She knew it in her heart. 

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Rebecca Josephine Parker was a daydreamer. Whenever her mind had the chance to wander, it always did, whether she was in the middle of class or on a roller coaster in Six Flags or chatting up her best guy friend, Blake. Blake sat in front of her in theatre, aloof and laid back as usual. He was not the least bit dramatic in reality, but when Blake was on stage it took your breath away. Rebecca loved him. She knew it in her heart–Blake was like her brother. She felt herself inhale sharply at “brother.” Her own brother, Radley, had died about six months before in a car accident. It had been hard on her, her parents, and her sisters.

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A Girlie Girl – Patsy Collins

1500 words Feel Good Story

Emily, or Expedition Em as she was known, had to change or no man would find her attractive; especially not the one she wanted.

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Emily gripped the paddle, her knuckles as white as the foam on the water. Her canoe crashed through the torrent while adrenaline pumped through her veins. The smile on her face was as bright as the sun sparkling off the icy river. It wasn’t really happening though. She’d been staring at the computer for so long, trying to delay the coming ordeal, that her screen-saver had come up. There was no getting out of it, adventures like her latest white-water rafting trip were firmly behind her. Instead, Emily had to make do with tedious, girlie stuff like shopping. ‘I’m going up town,’ she announced. ‘Can I get anyone, anything?’

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A Good Night’s Sleep – Susan Wright

1000 words Feel Good/Ghost Story

Geri is surprised when her husband tells her that she doesn’t need to phone her mother after dinner. She’s spoken to her mother every evening since her father died and she can’t work out what’s changed.

Included in the Collection ‘The Day Death wore Boots’

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As soon as she’d finished her dinner, Geri sat back in her chair and looked at her watch. “I’d better phone Mum,” she said. “Oh, you don’t need to,” her husband Matt replied as he stabbed his fork into his last chip. “I meant to tell you, love. She phoned earlier and I told her you were working late.” “Yeah, but no doubt she’s expecting me to phone her back.” Geri stood up and started walking across the room towards the phone. “I’ve spoken to her every evening since Dad died and…”

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A Hell of a Lot of Power – Terence Brand

2450 words Humour

After banishing RAF airman Nobby Clarke’s latest, and noisiest, car from their billet’s forecourt, Newton feels guilty when the car is stolen. With a passionate Nobby urging them on, Newton and Halliday burn up Singapore’s highways in pursuit of the thief.

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Oh hell. That idiot was off again. I raised the needle from my record, got off my bed and went to the balcony. The parking area outside Block 151, RAF Changi, had been floodlit. Under the lamps stood a rakish, silver-finished American car. Its six-cylinder engine roared aggressively as the owner tested his latest modification. Someone below me yelled, ‘Give it a rest, Nobby!’ An oily hand emerged from the driver’s window, two fingers extended. I sighed. Nobby Clarke’s lewd gesture signalled the end of my record session. Even up on the first floor, it was impossible to listen to music while Nobby played with his new toy. Snooker would have to replace Ellington as the order of the evening.

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A John by Any Other Name – Peter Lingard

1600 words Humour / Romance

A woman is confused about with whom she has a blind date, but the man she picks thinks it’s wonderful.

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Jennifer arrived early on Saturday evening to meet John Miller, an almost-blind-date arranged by her sister. She sat on a bench by the fountain in St. Francis’ Square, draped her slender arms along the wooden backrest, and tilted her head to catch the glow of the setting sun. John Miller’s family lived in Adelaide but he had gained his degrees in economics and geography at Melbourne University. It was there that Jennifer’s brother-in-law had been friendly with the man who was soon to commence working for the town’s most prestigious brokerage house. Jennifer had seen a photograph of a group of students that included John before being asked if she fancied the idea of a date with him.

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A Journey of Discovery – Alice Parrant

1800 words Feel Good Story

A flat car battery puts an end to Jane’s hopes for a fabulous day of shopping and forces her to journey out on foot. However it isn’t long before she realises that there’s a lot more to her small hometown than meets the eye…

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“Oh, for goodness sake,” cried Jane, slamming her hand on the car horn then gesticulating wildly. “What makes you think you can cut me up?” “Mum, Matthew hit me,” whined Poppy from the back. “Did not!” came the quick retort. “Would anyone like a toffee?” asked Dora, the children’s grandmother, from the front passenger seat. “That’s it, Mum, fill their mouths with sugar to keep them quiet,” replied Jane, as Matthew and Poppy leaned over to grab a sweet each. “Perhaps you’d like one too, love,” said her mother quietly.

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A Kinship of Cats – Dorothy Williams

3000 words General Fiction / Animal Story

A Kinship with Cats lightens the difficult lives of two old war veterans as they strive to maintain their independence together as fire, flood and disability diminish their ability to live off their land. They pity a mysterious giant feral cat starved of prey by the fires, that steals from their barbecue, until a reporter reveals its identity.

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Only the passing of the marmalade tabby draws his attention. He sits alone and silent all day on the veranda of the Alamein Home. But then, old George never did talk much . . . He sat on the steps with Vern, gazing across the firebreak. They sniffed the wind and the faint drift of smoke from the ranges, sensing the weather — a wind change, maybe rain on the way. Only once had fire come towards them from the mountains to the east. The rain came just in time that year. Every summer still, just in case, they ploughed a firebreak through the regenerating bush that reached across the narrow flat towards the little shack.

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A Kiss on Route 66 – Theresa Van Meter

6800 word Romance

Marshall is from England, and on his first holiday to the United States.  He plans on cruising Route 66.  Betty, his reluctant hostess, has dreamed of visiting England, for years.  During their cruise they are kidnapped by crazed gunmen.  Will they live and find love on Route 66?

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Betty stared at the computer screen and sighed. She inhaled deeply and could almost smell the fragrant English countryside, or at least what she imagined the scent would be like. “What’s wrong?” Christina asked. She opened the microwave oven and pulled out a steaming cup of hot water, then plopped a tea bag into it. Betty frowned. “That’s not the proper way to have tea.” “Why not? I’ve seen you do it before.” “Maybe so, but it’s still not the proper way.” Christina glanced at the computer screen. “I should have known. Are you dreaming about England again?”

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A Laughing Matter – Edward Ahern

3100 word Fairytale

An older couple accommodates the presence of death.

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Alan watched the drool sliding from the right side of her mouth. The side of her face whose creases had been gently smoothed out by the stroke. Judith’s right profile was two decades younger than her left. Alan remembered making love to her right profile. He had pulled a metal and plastic chair next to the bed so he could read to her and wipe away the drool. Alan made a ritual of waiting until the drool had slid down to the corner of her jaw and beaded into an almost drip before blotting up the saliva from the droplet to the corner of her mouth.

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