“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.
‘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!
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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…
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.”
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.
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?’
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’
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…”
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…
“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.
A Little Piece of Fiction – Dorothy Davies
1240 words Science Fiction / Feel Good
A grandmother prepares her last gift to her grandson, who is about to take off for distant planets and stars.
Her hand trembled a little as she reached for the flour jar. She told herself to stop being stupid, there was a loaf to be made and very little time in which to make it. She tipped the flour into the bowl and added the fat; her wrinkled fingers began the process of rubbing it in. If Gary were to walk in now, she thought, he’d say, as he always did: “You need a mixer, Gran, one with a dough hook. It’ll do all that hard work for you. Go on, let me bring you Mother’s.” But she’d always made her bread this way and she always told him she was too told to change her ways.
A Lost Cause – Samantha Tonge
1700 words Feel Good / Animal Story
A home-less kitten makes house-proud Juliet realize just how much she has changed, since having children.
This story is included in the collection Sweet Talk
‘It’s such a cliché.’ Juliet groaned. ‘Everyone told me it would happen. I insisted it wouldn’t.’ ‘What?’ asked her sister, Susan, who had called in after spending the morning on the phone to tradesmen. Her washing machine had leaked the previous evening and her laminate floor was ruined. ‘Getting broody – now that Emily is in reception year.’ Juliet placed two coffees on the kitchen table. She offered Susan a biscuit and sat down opposite her. ‘Other mums warned me that’s how I’d feel, when my youngest started school full-time.’
A Perfect Day? – Rebecca Holmes
2400 words Humour / Romance
Heather eagerly anticipates a day out in the Lakes, visiting her sister and brother-in-law. Her best clothes have nothing to do with the fact that Edward will be there. They meet her at the station, equipped for fell-walking. From there, it’s downhill. Or should that be ‘up mountain’?
“You, Heather, are the original hopeless romantic.” My sister’s words ran through my mind as I checked my appearance in a handbag mirror on the final stage of my journey. I’m not normally vain, but today I wanted to look my best. Luckily the other passengers had disembarked at a previous station, so that I had the compartment to myself, as the train puffed towards Westmorland and the scenery became more hilly with each passing mile. I was used to hills, of course, coming as I did from a Lancashire town surrounded by moors. But, much as I loved them, they couldn’t compare to proper mountains, especially on a day like this, with a clear blue sky. At least my sister wouldn’t be able to joke about me having my head in the clouds.
A Raggedy Hound – Chris Heyward
1000 words Feel Good Story
Four years away from retirement and now Bev was about to be made redundant. She knew it was time to rethink her future. Is it too late for her to choose a new path? Sometimes our dreams are closer than we think.
‘We’re letting Beverley go.’ I heard the words as I was poised to knock on the General Manager’s door. ‘Really?’ Another voice now, the Regional Director. ‘It’s the right decision. I’ll be speaking to her and the others first thing Monday.’ Let me go? So, I was to be the first. The expected redundancies had started and I was top of the list. I found myself thinking about what I fancied for supper and whether I’d meet much traffic going home. Anything except that I was about to lose my job.
A Secret Place – Rebecca Holmes
2000 words Feel Good Fiction
The tarn, hidden away behind the trees, is a magical place of Jen and Richard. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that it’s still there in between their visits, with its own life, season after season, and year after year.
Not many people visited the tarn, tucked away as it was behind the trees. After all, it was hardly the most scenic in the Lake District, especially compared to those surrounded by dramatic mountains and the wild beauty of the fells. It also didn’t help that reaching it involved several miles’ walk along a stony track, through line after line of tall, ruler-straight pines and, even then, found only by those who spotted the faint path branching off, following it over a small rise, to be rewarded by the water opening out before them like a dream.
A Turn for the Better – Linda Caspar
1150 words Feel Good
To be told you have been made redundant is devastating and that’s how we find Ben, who realises that he will have to face up to unwelcome changes in his life.
‘Not at work today?’ came the call from the front garden next door. ‘Taken some time off,’ I replied with a forced smile on my face as I scurried past. ‘I’m glad I’ve caught you,’ continued the woman in the woolly hat and matching fleece jacket, straightening up from her weeding and removing one of her gardening gloves. ‘Actually I’m in rather a hurry,’ I told her pretending to consult my watch while walking away. ‘Won’t keep you then. I’ll call by later, should I? It’s Flat 2 isn’t it?’ she persevered.
A Worthy Cause – Maggie Jones
2300 words Feel Good Fiction
Oliver’s parents find it hard every year to know what to buy their children for Christmas. Oliver’s not the problem, never wanting for anything; it’s his brother and sister! They always want and expect the most expensive gifts. However, this year, Oliver comes up with a plan, as he suggests a worthy cause benefits instead of them!
Oliver knew just how much his Mum, loved Christmas, because as soon as December 1st arrived, so did her enthusiasm and excitement, even though he knew in some ways she also dreaded it. Every year it was more difficult for his parents to try to find the money for the presents they wanted, especially for Matthew and Charlotte, his older brother and sister. He knew their demands grew worse, as the list of things they wanted seemed to get longer, and they cost the earth. Mum had to keep on thinking of ways to find the extra to be able to get them the presents they demanded.
A-tone-ment – Simon Whaley
3000 words Feel Good
Granddad’s hearing has deteriorated so much his family have had enough. They’re fed up with repeating everything three or four times and even then he doesn’t hear. It’s down to granddaughter Becky to take him for a hearing test. But the results are not what Becky expects to hear.
‘Rampant sex?’ ‘Granddad! That’s not what I said!’ Becky glanced round, worried someone had overheard them. She swept a long strand of brown hair behind her ear, closed her eyes, took a deep breath, then opened them again. Mum had warned her today would be challenging. Becky put an arm around Granddad’s shoulders, and leaned closer to his ear. With her other arm, she pointed to the doors of the audiology unit. ‘Which is better, Granddad?’ she enunciated, ‘Ramp? Or steps?’ ‘Oh! Why didn’t you say? Let’s take the steps, shall we? I’m not decrepit yet.’
Albarella di Sarzana – Anne Goodwin
3000 word Feel Good Fiction
After retirement, Daphne would never have imagined her redundant organisational skills being prized by the allotment society. But then, she’d never have imagined growing her own courgettes.
It wasn’t the best party I’ve ever had. Forty-odd sweaty bodies crammed into the boardroom to toast my expulsion (sorry, my early retirement with generous benefits package) with a glass of cheap sherry and a lukewarm mini-samosa. A witty speech detailing the parallels between my rise through the ranks and the steady increase in our market share, deftly glossing over the last three years since He Who Must Be Obeyed started meddling with my systems. A bouquet of enormous lilies and the lavender envelope containing the holiday gift vouchers. All those soon-to-be-former colleagues anxious to see how I would deal with it. How did I deal with it? Professionally, of course: I kept a rictus smile and spoke the lines that could have come straight from one of He Who Must Be Obeyed’s operational policies.
Amanda – Chris Cooke
3000 words Feel Good / General Fiction
This is a heartfelt story about celebrating our uniqueness and feeling good in our own skin. Told through the eyes of an ex – circus sideshow freak, we watch as Amanda finds her true potential and passion through a friendship that will last a lifetime.
This story is available in the collection Came as ‘Me’ Left as ‘We’
I love Halloween. The seasons are changing, the air is crisp. The leaves on the trees become a myriad of iridescent colors as intense as a firework at the point of first explosion. Now I’m not what you would call the best looking man in the world so I can truly appreciate beauty like this. You see, I worked my whole life in the circus … I was a … well … how do you say … oh I’ll just come out and say it … I was a freak.
At the Top of the Stairs – Hilary Halliwell
2200 words Christmas / Feel Good Fiction
We all remember Christmas Eve when we were children. The excitement, the expectation, the waiting bleary eyed for six am to arrive in the darkness to see if Father Christmas had been. We recreate these happy times for our children, but can Christmas ever be the same again when finally they fly the nest?
As I wander through the bustling shops the sounds and smells of Christmas greet me at every turn. I’ve always loved Christmas even though sometimes I’ve had a little moan about all the work it involves. I stop at the toy department of Dewsons and look at the wonderment on the children’s faces as they queue to see Santa. My Jamie and Louise used to love the yearly trip to visit a rather reluctant and somewhat grumpy Father Christmas, who would invariably give them each the wrong present so that they’d have to swap.
Bessie’s Rescue – Maggie Jones
2260 words General Fiction / Feel Good
Benn and his sheepdog Bessie, venture out in the snow to rescue his sheep, the ‘girls’. But when Benn falls and badly hurts his ankle, he realises he’s in trouble. He’s always been a stubborn man, especially concerning his son Andrew. Will he let his stubbornness continue to ruin his life?
‘Away, Bessie, go find those girls for me?’ Benn pointed towards the far end of the field as the dog glanced at her master before scurrying off. She was a good faithful old girl, and he knew that if anyone could find his missing ewes then it was her. Although they were due to lamb at any time, Benn had let them out into the field thinking some fresh air and grass would do them the world of good, even perhaps bringing them on. At the time the sky had looked threatening, but not enough that he was worried. He thought he knew better than any weather man predicting heavy snow during the day, and when no more than sleet started to fall, he thought he had been proved right once more.
Big Loser – Patsy Collins
2270 words Feel Good
Del had a look on his face that suggested he had good news and wanted to share it. He wasn’t the only one.
I almost walked into a lamp post when I realised who it was that Del reminded me of. You’d be surprised too if you were a twenty something girl who’d just recognised yourself in her retired male neighbour who sported the craziest moustache outside of Cuba. I don’t mean we look alike; I’m as pale as he is dark. He’s a good foot taller and several stones lighter. Yeah, you’ve got it – he’s fit and I’m fat.
Blood Sisters – Cath Delaney
1000 words Feel Good Story
Julie and Kate have been best friends since primary school. Then Kate meets Gareth and their friendship is suddenly ripped apart. When Julie spots Kate walking along the street, she desperately wants to make up. But will Kate?
I see her coming along the High Street towards me, Kate, my ex-best friend. I panic for a moment and turn to cross the road out of her way. Then I change my mind and swerve back. That we haven’t bumped into each other before now can’t be a coincidence, not in a town as small as ours. Kate has obviously avoided me, though she isn’t doing so now. Why is that? Part of me, the emotionally detached part, is curious to see what Kate will do. Will she shout at me? Or cut me dead?
Blue Freesias – Chris Heyward
2900 words Feel Good Story
Recovering from a broken relationship, Chloe’s chance meeting with a stranger throws her life off balance. As a journalist, she senses a story and intends to find out more about him, unaware of the impact this will have on them both.
Don’t sit by me. Don’t sit by me. She couldn’t believe he was going to sit by her, yet here he was, walking purposefully towards her, a jangle of dreadlocks and beads. Everything he wore was grey, torn, tired. He pulled a small wooden cart piled with stuffed supermarket shopping bags tied all round with string. The wheels complained in rhythm with his languid stride. He was closing in on her.
Bluebirds of Happiness – Samantha Tonge
2700 words Feel Good Story
When Billy’s gran loses her blue budgie, the young lad is determined to cheer her up. With the help of a school project and his dad, Billy provides his gran with not one, but several bluebirds of happiness.
This story is included in the collection Sweet Talk
On the sofa, Billy glanced sideways at his gran. They’d been chatting about their favourite quiz show on telly. He sipped his juice and gazed out at the back garden, and the oak tree at the bottom, waving in the wind. They hadn’t played cards for a while and about to ask her for a game, Billy turned back to her neat grey curls, smart blue trousers and cream blouse… Nothing about her appearance was unusual, except that the familiar cheery mouth was down-turned. The bungalow seemed so quiet without Sky.