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'Out of the Frying Pan' - A short story set in the World Trade Center

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The Derby Telegraph invites readers to submit short stories. Here is a piece by Neal James, titled 'Out of the Frying Pan' MARK knew that he was for the high jump as soon as he got the summons to head office from Burt Travers, the head of corporate HR. He had failed on a number of potentially lucrative contracts and the work required to seal each deal had been neither complicated nor time-consuming. Now it was time to face the music and, as he sat in the company's reception area of the 38th floor of the World Trade Center in New York, he started to worry about how he was going to explain things to his wife Selma. They had been married for 22 years and, although they had no children, his was the only source of income and they had a hefty mortgage to pay on their Philadelphia home. It was a riverfront property off St Columbus Boulevard and he had gambled on his commission to pay off the interest on the loan. He was snapped out of his reverie by a call over the reception

Magical Stories Full of Mystery & Humour

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Aliens and Angels: Three Stories For Christmas By  Sue Hampton   With illustrations by children from schools Sue has visited, this is a book to make you smile at any time of year. The school Nativity play has been cast and Robbie would rather be an angel than a spotty, hopping globalob, but no one seems to understand. A wilful donkey called Trouble has his life transformed by a baby, and a girl who feels alone on Christmas morning finds a reason to smile again. Sue Hampton captures the spirit of Christmas with three warm-hearted stories full of humour, mystery and magic. .. .. Find out more  

A light-hearted detective story in the Julius Falconer Series

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The Bite of a Mad Dog: A Country Parson’s Curious Tale By  Julius Falconer     It is the summer of 1728, and we are in the village of Sherburn, in the West Riding of Yorkshire. A conspiracy is in the wings, this has worrying, and sometimes hilarious, consequences for the hapless vicar, whose meagre detective skills are stretched to their limit. Both the squire and Sir Ralph are only too happy to leave it all to the vicar – until, that is, the vicar is arrested for gun-smuggling and the squire disappears. This neat tale both faithfully recreates the atmosphere of an eighteenth-century Yorkshire village and offers the modern reader rare entertainment .. .. Find out more  

A Stirring Tale of Love, Heartbreak and Religious Sectarianism Set in Ireland and Canada

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Between Two Dusks By  Annie Coyle Martin   This heart-tugging story closely recreates the atmosphere of 1950s Ireland and is the sequel to ‘To Know the Road’ published in 2011. It is the 1950s in Dublin, Protestant Lizzie Wynne meets and falls in love with Finn, a young Catholic doctor, they are confident that religion will be no barrier to love in a changing Ireland. But the past has a way of catching up with you when you least expect it. Finn discovers Lizzie’s past and family background, unknown even to her–it changes everything. Lizzie escapes to Canada in search of a new life, but questions about her past remain and only a trip back to Ireland may resolve them. Will Lizzie ever discover the truth about who she really is? .. .. Find out more    

A Provocative Story of the Paranormal

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Harley House By  Fred Maddox   Assume Nothing! Peter Grice was your average kind of guy, an ordinary man, down-to-earth, simple and certainly not superstitious. He was a sceptic and dismissed stories of ghosts, ghouls and little men from Mars as nonsense–a figment of the imagination. He disregarded stories of the supernatural, and scoffed at people who related such tales. This was until he moved to a new town and met Greg and his three friends in Harley House. The sequence of events which followed his encounter with them would shake his view of the world to the core and when he meets the ‘operator’ – his perception of the life is dramatically altered forever. . .. Find out more  

Author Spotlight - Chris Pownall on Morgen Bailey Writing Blog

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Author Chris R. Pownall, who now resides in Nottinghamshire England, was born in 1943 in the rural Cheshire village of Bosley. He has an older sister Cynthia Edwards, who also has ambition to become a published author. Their parents, Robert and Lucy Pownall were hard working and caring individuals, whose standards and values were, rooted in the future lives of their two children. Sadly Robert died prematurely, leaving Lucy to complete the parenting of Cynthia and Chris who were 17 & 9 years of age respectively, at the time of his death. Chris failed his 11+ examination and received a secondary modern school education, leaving full time education at 15 years of age, with no academic qualifications to his name. He managed to secure an engineering apprenticeship at a nearby mill and attended Macclesfield College of further education, studying mechanical engineering until the age of 22 years.

Once Upon a Game: an extract from Derrick Knight's Ramblings Blog

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Today I finished reading my friend Michael Kindred’s autobiographical work, ‘Once Upon a Game’, being a description of his ‘precarious career as a games inventor’.  For two reasons I am mightily relieved that I can wholeheartedly recommend this entertaining book.  The first is because Michael is a very good long-standing friend and, in the world of cryptic crosswords, colleague.  The second is that I feature as one of his collaborators. Michael’s capacity to entertain is at least twofold in this piece.  The first strand of this talent is in his descriptions of the process of creativity from the, sometimes failing, germ of an idea to the shop shelves.  I found his story of how the very successful board game ‘Bewitched’ came into being fascinating and provoking of much admiration.  Without giving too much away I can record that his observation of a discarded but saved ‘just in case’ magnet from a kitchen cupboard door mechanism, led to an idea for the game that produced a surprise ele