Fiction Sneak Peek, April 22, 2017 issue

A tale of comfort zones and courage.

We open with this dramatic picture to go with Leigh Forbes’s short story “Get a Grip”, about comfort zones and courage.

In “Blown Away” by Val Bonsall, there’s a storm blowing, the kind of wind that blows you off your feet, with echoes of a stormy day some years back…

Ever tried to get in to a pair of jeans that were just that bit too small? That’s Paula’s ambition in “The Denim Diet” by Sue Cunningham, illustrated by Sarah Holliday.

We follow that fun short story with – well, this one’s fun, too, and poignant at the same time, which is clever writing by Sally Trueman Dicken. “Alfred’s Letter” is about a son boarding  a train with a pals’ brigade during the ’14-’18 war. Illustrated by Gerard Fay.

New Zealand in the summer is the setting for “The Paua Shell” by Isobel J. Sayer. Wendy’s determined to find one as a souvenir of this very special trip, until an earthquake puts everything else out of her mind. Beautifully illustrated by Sarah Holliday.

Paloma is allergic to…well, lots of things, which makes meeting someone special unlikely. But then along comes parcel delivery man Oliver. “Not To Be Sneezed At” is a sweet story by Tracey Walsh with illustration by Sarah Holliday.

Aye, but the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, as Nina learns in “Two Of a Kind” by Della Galton, illustrated by Gerard Fay.


Janitor Jed finds himself called upon to give a lesson in Joyce Begg’s “On Wings Of Song,” while in Glenda Young’s “Riverside”, it’s finally Susan and Dave’s big day – but why’s the best man on the phone?


A stranger comes to Rachel’s aid in “The Warmsleys Of Pedlars Down” by June Davies, illustrated by Sailesh Thakrar.

And, of course, we have a new serial beginning. This one is by Katie Ashmore and was another of the runner-up ideas in our serial writing competition in 2015. “The Secret Of Elm House” is about a big house with a big secret – and big problems. Has Jess taken on too much? Illustrated by Martin Baines.


Shirley Blair

Fiction Ed Shirley’s been with the “Friend” since 2007 and calls it her dream job because she gets to read fiction all day every day. Hobbies? Well, that would be reading! She also enjoys writing fiction when she has time, long walks, travel, and watching Scandi thrillers on TV.