I’m thrilled today to be part of the blog tour for When Stars Will Shine – an exceptional collection of short stories from your favourite authors who have come together to deliver a Christmas read with a twist. Compiled by the wonderful Emma Mitchell (with a little help from her friends), the collection was released in digital and paperback formats on 9 December, and is available via Amazon in the UK and US. It’s £5 for kindle, £10 in paperback (or the US equivalent), and as Christmas approaches, buying a copy would be the perfect way of supporting a cause that should be close to all our hearts. I’ve bought my copy – and I’m sure you’ll have a few festive stockings that might have space for a copy too.
With true war tales that will break your heart, gritty Christmas crimes that will shake you to your core, and heart-warming tales of love lost and found, this anthology has something for everyone. And, with every penny made being sent to support our troops, you can rest assured that you’re helping our heroes, one page at a time.
From authors such as Louise Jensen, Graham Smith, Malcolm Hollingdrake, Lucy Cameron, Val Portelli, and Alex Kane, you are in for one heck of a ride! When Stars Will Shine is the perfect Christmas gift for the bookworms in your life!
And let me share an important note from Emma to tell you more:
As the blurb tells us, When Stars Will Shine is a multi-genre collection of Christmas-themed short stories compiled to raise money for our armed forces and every penny made from the sales of both the digital and paperback copies will be donated to the charity.
Working closely with Kate Noble at Noble Owl Proofreading and Amanda Ni Odhrain from Let’s Get Booked, I’ve been able to pick the best of the submissions to bring you a thrilling book which is perfect for dipping into at lunchtime or snuggling up with on a cold winter’s night. I have been completely blown away by the support we’ve received from the writing and blogging community, especially the authors who submitted stories and Shell Baker from Baker’s Not So Secret Blog, who has organised the cover reveal and blog tour.
There isn’t a person in the country who hasn’t benefited from the sacrifices our troops, past and present, have made for us and they all deserve our thanks.
It has been an honour working on these stories, and I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I have.
One of the things I always love about a short story collection featuring a wide range of authors is that it gives you the opportunity to taste their writing without committing yourself to sitting down for the full meal. And at a time of year when there are so many other things-to-do shouting for your attention, short stories really are the perfect treat. I’ve only dipped into the collection so far, but plan to do so again and again when I have the opportunity.
The first story I read was by Val Portelli – I always love her short stories, and you can read many more (as I often do) on her author Facebook page. Uncle Christmas was just wonderful – a timely reminder of the plight of far too many ex-servicemen, and so very heartwarming with its small acts of kindness making such an enormous difference.
I’ve never read a book by Louise Jensen (I know, I know – but in my defence I do read rather more romance…), but I loved her story The Christmas Killer. It starts as a really well-told and poignant story of a lonely old man preparing for Christmas, then takes a really unexpected turn. Quite chilling, really clever writing, and I very much enjoyed it.
Owen Mullen‘s an author I’ve featured here on Being Anne before (you’ll find that feature here), but with the admission that I thought his books might not quite be my personal cup of tea. Well, his short story Girl in a Red Shirt most certainly was – very different, unexpectedly moving, and beautifully constructed capturing both the reality of conflict and its indelible impact.
And then there was Jane Risdon‘s Penance – creepy and sinister, so very different I had no idea where it might be going, but ultimately very touching indeed.
Malcolm Hollingdrake was another name I recognised, a local author whose writing I’d wanted to try. Died of Wounds really wasn’t at all what I expected at all. A First World War and Yorkshire backdrop, a blend of fact and fiction, vividly drawn characters, a perfect emotional touch – very moving, and I really loved it.
And then there was Carmen Radtke‘s Time for a Barbeque – another local author whose writing I was eager to discover, and this was a story I really enjoyed. Set mainly in New Zealand, it’s a wonderful story told through a child’s eyes – fear and prejudice, family care and love.
That’s as far as I’ve been able to explore so far – but this is a collection I’ll look forward to returning to again and again. Here’s a list of all the stories and contributors – with a massive thank you to everyone who contributed their stories, and to Emma and her team for all the work they’ve put into this quite wonderful collection, overcoming the many hurdles along the way, for such an important cause.
Fredrick Snellgrove, Private 23208 by Rob Ashman
Four Seasons by Robert Scragg
The Close Encounter by Gordon Bickerstaff
Believe by Mark Brownless
What Can Possibly Go Wrong? by Lucy Cameron
Mountain Dew by Paul T. Campbell
The Art of War and Peace by John Carson
A Gift for Christmas by Kris Egleton
Free Time by Stewart Giles
Died of Wounds by Malcolm Hollingdrake
The Christmas Killer by Louise Jensen
The Village Hotel by Alex Kane
A Present of Presence by HR Kemp
The Invitation by Billy McLaughlin
Brothers Forever by Paul Moore
Girl in a Red Shirt by Owen Mullen
Pivotal Moments by Anna Franklin Osborne
Uncle Christmas by Val Portelli
Time for a Barbeque by Carmen Radtke
Christmas Present by Lexi Rees
Inside Out by KA Richardson
Penance by Jane Risdon
New Year’s Resolution by Robert Scragg
Family Time by Graham Smith