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‘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.

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“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.”

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‘It’s Duncan’ – Susan Wright

1000 words Women’s Fiction

Margaret is a sixty four year old widow. She’s usually very sensible and calm, but she feels like an excited teenager as she sits in her living room and waits for her phone to ring.

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Margaret had been expecting a phone call all evening, but she still jumped when the phone started ringing at twenty past nine. Her heart started hammering in her chest as well, but she managed to say hello in a reasonably normal voice. “So has he phoned?” her friend Pam asked. “No, not yet,” she replied. “How strange,” Pam said. “What time did he phone last night?” “The machine said it was ten past eight.” Margaret slumped back on the sofa and sighed. “Maybe he’s forgotten he said he’d phone.” “Yes, so maybe you should phone him!”

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“They’ve Got a Kidney for Me, Mum” – Violet Apted

1000 words Feel Good Story

Many will understand the physical and emotional trauma of needing an organ transplant. In this story, of personal experience, I try to give an insight from the aspect of the recipient and close family.

From the insiduious beginning of pain and fatigue, the hopes and the fears. All tinged with the sorrow of knowing you could live only because another human being has lost their
life and another family is suffering loss. They are the heroes in this story.

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‘They’ve got a kidney for me, Mum!’ My Son Steve was almost shouting into the phone, he was so excited. My heart missed a beat, as I realised the enormity of his statement. This was the phone call we have all been waiting for. It had finally arrived. What now? “I’m on my way Steve.” I said replacing the receiver and grabbing the car keys in one movement. Then it happened!

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8 Sycamore Close – Susan Wright

1400 words Women’s Fiction

Paula decides to go on an estate agent’s website during her lunch break. She’s been desperate to look at the details of a property in Sycamore Close ever since the For Sale board went up, and she thinks the house looks great, but her supervisor isn’t so impressed.

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As soon as all the other girls had clattered off to the canteen, Paula went on the Internet and started searching for the website of a local estate agent. She was desperate to take a look at 8 Sycamore Close. The For Sale board had gone up in the garden the day before, but she hadn’t been able to look at the details at her mother’s house.

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9 out of 10 Zebras Prefer Black and White Stripes – Vesna McMaster

1700 words Women’s Fiction

Independence Reclaimed: the Granny Strikes Out.

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This won’t be much fun, thought Jessica as she opened the door of the fridge, cautiously. A mangled bar of chocolate dropped out in a rustle of gold foil. A pre-mixed salad was turning to mush, the gasses inflating the unopened bag. Jessica winced at the sight of the rest of the fridge. Cooking at her daughter’s house was invariably painful. “The kids are doing their summer school projects, they won’t bother you at all,” Rosemary had said earlier as she checked herself in the mirror. “Oh, and could you cook them some dinner? The fridge is just stuffed, I’m sure you’ll find something. Goodness, is that the time? Bye sweeties!” she yelled this last out to empty air, and was gone.

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A Bag for Life – Patsy Collins

1200 words Women’s Fiction

Erin’s husband Steve is like a carrier bag. A bit dull, but useful if he ever managed to be in the right place at the right time. Xavier was in the right place and not dull at all.

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Erin stomped her way round the supermarket. Nothing was going right; her wrist hurt like crazy, the trolley only had three good wheels and she’d forgotten to bring a bag for life with her. Again. Those things were a bit like men Erin thought. A good idea in theory and sometimes a good idea in practice, but often not where you wanted them to be. Steve should be here helping. He’d offered in a half-hearted way yesterday. He hadn’t offered again this morning before they’d both left for work; Steve driving the car, Erin catching the bus. She’d just have to fight through the pain of her sprained wrist and gather a few essentials for their breakfast tomorrow. She headed for the bread aisle.

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A Black Love Story – How We Met – Demarquis Lamar Johnson

700 words Romance Story

Most couples have an interesting story about how they first met. The day these two locked eyes is certainly an unusual story worth revisiting. Who knew you could find love in such a strange way as they did?

 

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“How did you and Dad meet?” said Alice. Alice was always asking questions. “Your father and I actually met on a street corner,” said Suzanne, as she laughed. “Come, sit here, let me tell you the story. I remember this story very well. “I was headed to my first job interview fresh out of Hofstra. I was a petite little thing in those days.”

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A Bumpy Ride to Romance – Pat Boulton

1500 words Romance

Barbara had fallen out with her daughter, because she was forever trying to find a man for her. She loved her daughter very much, but she didn’t want a man in her life, she was happy as she was, that is, until she had a knock to her car and the cause of that knock changed her mind.

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“You’re getting too choosy in your old age, that’s your trouble.” Barbara gazed out of the window; she had taken umbrage at her daughter’s remark. Right, so choosy she could be, and why not, but old? Never! After all, she was only seventy, in her head coming on forty. She had her own teeth; or most of them; trendy in her appearance, and thanks to the bottle in her bathroom cabinet, no grey hair.

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A Cat May Look at a King – Tracey Walsh

3000 words Historical / Romance

It’s 1617 and Catherine, Thomas and the rest of the household staff at Hoghton Tower are keen to see their royal visitor, King James, but life will never be the same again after his visit.

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That day in 1617 started the same way as every other day Catherine had spent as scullery maid at Hoghton Tower in Lancashire. But as she hurried downstairs to begin her early morning chores Catherine remembered that today was different after all. It was her sixteenth birthday and the housekeeper, Mrs Baines, had promised that if Catherine worked hard and behaved herself she would be promoted to the position of housemaid. That would mean no more nights staying awake, ensuring that all the fires in the house stayed lit. It would also mean that instead of just one half-day off a month she would have half a day every fortnight.

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A Change in Routine – Pat Boulton

1300 words Women’s Fiction

Mavis and Tom were a childless couple, who spent all their married life, keeping to a routine, and never changing. Tom was old fashioned and would not agree to Mavis going out to work. One day, however, Tom began to change his routine, and the result was a big surprise for Mavis.

 

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Mavis heard the stairs creak; he must be on the fifth stair. Almost every morning for the last thirty years, Tom had brought her a cup of tea, placing it carefully on the bedside cabinet. “I’m off now dear. Another day another dollar.” It was the same routine every day. This morning, however, his mind seemed elsewhere. Suddenly, Tom was sprawled across the bed, tea dripping over the beautiful cream silk bedcovers.

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A Change of Heart – Caroline Scott Collins

5200 words Women’s Fiction

Laura is a writer who likes to sit writing in a coffee shop to stimulate her creativity. One stormy day she meets her guardian angel who has come to help her.

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In the end it didn’t matter if she didn’t write today. Laura held the delete key down on her computer, wiping the words on her screen away—a clear page, until all that remained was the flashing cursor waiting again, like an anxious scribe waiting to fill a new sheet. The action represented her life, she thought, a clean slate—back to a default position. The torrential rain streamed down the windows. Laura was sitting in the warmth of a deserted coffee shop at a table by the steamy window, looking out towards the sea wall. Every so often the angry, stormy sea sent a big wave splashing over it, as a reminder of its mood. ‘That should reflect my state,’ she thought, ‘but I feel nothing.’

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A Changed Woman – Patsy Collins

900 words Women’s Fiction

Callum realised he hadn’t been taking enough notice of Julie lately. Sometimes it felt like he didn’t know his own wife.

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Julie’s hair was looking good; shiny and neat. I almost made the mistake of mentioning it – or, I wondered would it be a mistake not to? I thought she’d been to the salon. If she had then I’d be expected to notice, but if she hadn’t then I’d be accused of sarcasm or suggesting she should get it cut. Even worse was the possibility that she’d had it done last week and I’d only just realised.

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A Christmas Miracle – Marion Richards

1700 word Christian / Christmas Story

Ada wasn’t looking forward to Christmas with only her memories for company but she had not bargained for the unexpected happenings of Christmas Eve…

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Christmas Eve, that’s when the festivities began in our house. You see, Martin our eldest was born Christmas Eve and my Arthur and me, well, we weren’t ones to see his birthday swamped by all the other Christmas doings – oh no! Our Martin always had his party every Christmas Eve no matter what. Front room crowded with excited youngsters, hollering and laughing, playing games, woofing down blancmange and jelly trifle and before the party came to its end Santa would be sure to pay a visit.

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A Christmas Story – Dorothy Davies

1000 words Feel Good

A family dispute before Christmas is not much fun, can Mike find a way round it?

This story is included in the collection A Wish for Christmas

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The gale force wind sent ice-cold rain sweeping across the garage forecourt. It rattled the signs, pulled at the bunting and threatened the brightly coloured lights on the huge Christmas tree outside the door. Mike Drew ran a hand through his thick brown curls and sighed. If the tree came down, he would have to go out and rescue it. It would mean getting soaked, but that wouldn’t make him any unhappier than he already was. What a Christmas Eve, raining, hardly any customers and the prospect of spending Christmas alone.

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A Christmas Wish – Samantha Tonge

1400 words Feel Good Fiction

Alone in the house, with husband Tony at work, Janet hears a strange noise. She creeps downstairs to find Santa in her lounge. Either she’s dreaming or it’s a burglar, right…?

This story is included in the collection Sweet Talk

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Janet turned over in bed and lazily persuaded herself that she hadn’t heard a noise. Perhaps, like the other night, she’d left the utility room open and her cat, Smudge, had escaped and was taking a tour of the house. Janet chuckled. He really was a scamp. Perhaps he had unrolled a ball of her best cashmere wool. With a yawn, she closed her eyes again. It was Christmas Eve. She really had to sleep. Tomorrow would be busy, what with Mum and Dad coming around for the day.

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A Class Act- Peter Lingard

1500 words Women’s Fiction

A lad from the ‘wrong side of the tracks’ falls for a girl his mother warned him he can never have.

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My mother was preserving the class system again. “Them folks as live up th’ill, live in a different world frum us. We’ll never be able to aspire tuh same ‘eights as them, you’ll see. Just wait ‘til ya get older and you’ll see the way of the world!” Unfortunately, one of the folks that lived on the hill was Penelope Armstrong-Sydeley and I took a shine to her from the day I saw her in the schoolyard. A gaggle of girls was doing handstands against a wall that ran the length of the girls’ play area.

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A Clean Break – Samantha Tonge

1200 words Women’s Fiction

Worn down by the recession and daily grind, Ken and Linda take drastic measures. However, their new life in France isn’t all it appears to be…

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“I asked for what?” Ken put down his glass of wine and skimmed a hand over his bald head. “Poison with chips. You’ve got to pronounce it right. The French word for fish is le poisson.” From the lounger Linda squinted across at him and grinned. The midday sun reflected off the yacht-shaped pendant lying on her tanned chest. He’d bought it from the local market the week before, bartering down the trader before blowing what he’d saved on a box of croissants.

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A Company of Boys – Peter Lingard

1500 words Feel Good / General Fiction

A young school cadet goes to a fairground looking for the kind of girl about whom he has heard other cadets talk.  Camellia doesn’t exactly fit the description but she does provide him with a sought after opportunity.

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I was the youngest of the school cadet force at the summer camp and socially unacceptable to my peers, so, on Saturday, I took a bus alone into town, intending, like the others, to meet one of the anticipated hordes of vacationing mill girls. As I strode into the pulsating fairground, Frankie Vaughan sang of secrets ‘Behind the Green Door’. Rides went round and round, up and down and in and out, allowing girls to scream out for attention, pretending excitement and manufacturing fear. Assorted music blared from a multitude of speakers.

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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 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 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 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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