Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Bea-ing Friendly

I had a good weekend. I visited Harrogate which is a treat at any time of the year and of course included a trip to Betty’s famous coffee shop. I was there with my mother to attend the Women’s Institute Centennial Fair.

What made my trip special was the workshop I attended hosted by Shirley Blair, the commissioning fiction editor of The People’s Friend, aka “The Friend”.
Workshop Notes from The People's Friend

Did you know?
  1. Over 100 stories a week are received at the Friend and all of them are read, and responded to, by a team of just 4 people
  2. It can take up to 16 weeks for an acceptance, sometimes longer - so learn to be patient
  3. She is currently buying Christmas seasonal stories
  4. They receive far too many stories about:
·         Retired husbands getting under their wives’ feet
·         Retired women working in charity shops (Why only charity shops? Let them do something else, was Shirley’s plea.)
·         People trying to put aged parents into residential care
·         Empty nesters wondering what to do now the children have left home

Overall Shirley looks for stories that entertain. Don’t just reflect readers’ lives back: rather give them something to lift the spirits or something to smile about. Even if the story is sad or brings a lump to the throat, make it one that leaves the reader with some hope, a sense of being glad they’d read it.
My next story to be published in The People’s Friend will be in two weeks on 26 September 2015, called “Of Coffee Cups and Cream”. I hope you will feel glad when you read it.

In the meantime, I have a very short story (75 words) published on Thursday 10th September 2015 on You only have 24 hours to read this one. If you caught it in time, I hope you enjoyed it too.


  1. Aw, missed your 75 word story - but I'm looking forward to reading your story in The People's Friend.

    I'm going to the workshop in Dundee next month - can't wait :0)


    1. I'm sure you'll have a fab time at the workshop, Suzanne.