#Feature: Christmas is the time for giving… and for reading short stories @emmamitchellfpr @HobeckBooks @LJRossAuthor #TheStarsWillShineAgain #EverydayKindness #TheDarkSideOfChristmas

By | December 13, 2021

I always think short story collections are the perfect choice for Christmas – something you can pick up and put down again, when it can be difficult to get stuck into a full-length book and give it the concentration it deserves when there’s so much else that needs doing. I just wanted to tell you about three collections that drew my attention and are already on my kindle for those moments when I’m waiting for something to be ready in the oven… or if you’re over-run by family and friends, to pick up in those moments when you can find a quiet corner to escape to. And if you choose to buy them, to read yourself or to give as a gift, you’ll also get that warm feeling that your purchase has helped raise money for some particularly special causes.

The first is The Stars Will Shine Again: compiled and edited by Emma Mitchell, it’s now available for kindle for £5 (downloadable free via Kindle Unlimited), with the paperback to follow very soon. You might remember the last collection Emma put together back in 2019, When Stars Will Shine – it was simply wonderful, every story an absolute gem (and it really was the perfect way to get a taste of the writing of some authors others have loved but whose books never quite made it onto my reading list, as well as for catching up with some stories from others who were already personal favourites). You’ll find my review of that one here – and it’s still available, both for kindle (just £2, or £10 for the paperback).

But if something’s worth doing once – and the sales of that one were phenomenal, raising so much money for Help for Heroes – it’s most certainly worth doing again, and I do hope the reading and writing community will give this collection the same level of support.

With true war tales that will break your heart, gritty crimes that will shake you to your core, magic and mystery, 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’re helping our heroes, one page at a time.


From authors such as Malcolm Hollingdrake, Tony Forder, Val Portelli, and Andrew Barrett, and several debut authors, including Sarah Hardy and Yvonne Bastian, you are in for one heck of a ride.

I’ve only been able to dip in so far, but I have read the stories from Sarah and Yvonne – both thoroughly excellent – and I’m really looking forward to reading more. Let me share a note from Emma…

The Stars Will Shine Again is a multi-genre collection of 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 Help for Heroes. Covid has made fundraising a difficult job for everyone, so it’s an honour to able to do something like this and I’m thankful to everyone involved. With huge thanks going once again to Amanda Horan for her support and fabulous cover design. You can find her at Let’s Get Booked.


I’ve picked 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 from the writing and blogging community, especially the authors who submitted stories and bloggers who have been so generous with their time to help advertise and spread the word.


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.

The second collection I wanted to feature is Everyday Kindness, compiled, edited and published by LJ Ross, with all proceeds donated to Shelter and supporting some of the most vulnerable people in society at a time of year when that help is so desperately needed. It’s now available at £2.99 for kindle, with a gorgeous hardback edition available for £10.25 – an audio book will follow on 10th February.

These uplifting tales of hope and of small, everyday kindnesses are intended to support wider, positive mental health goals and foster wellbeing through the act of reading tales of goodwill inspired by others. Featuring authors across the spectrum of literature, some international bestsellers and award-winning writers amongst them, this is a unique collection of words.


All proceeds from the book will be donated to Shelter, a charity that helps millions of people a year struggling with bad housing or homelessness.


Authors include: LJ Ross, Adam Hamdy, Alex Smith, Alexander Gordon Smith, Alison Stockham, Anne O’Leary, Barbara Copperthwaite, J.D. Kirk, C.L. Taylor, Caroline Mitchell, Chris McDonald, C.K. McDonnell, Claire Sheehy, Clare Flynn, Darren O’Sullivan, David Leadbeater, Debbie Young, Deborah Carr, Emma Robinson, Graham Brack, Hannah Lynn, Heather Martin, Holly Martin, Ian Sainsbury, Imogen Clark, James Gilbert, Jane Corry, Jean Gill, J.J. Marsh, Judith O’Reilly, Kelly Clayton, Kim Nash, Leah Mercer, Liz Fenwick, Louise Beech, Louise Jensen, Louise Mumford, Malcolm Hollingdrake, Marcia Woolf, Mark Stay, Marcie Steele, Natasha Bache, Nick Jackson, Nick Quantrill, Nicky Black, Patricia Gibney, Rachel Sargeant, Rob Parker, Rob Scragg, S.E. Lynes, Shelley Day, Casey Kelleher, Sophie Hannah, Victoria Connelly, Victoria Cooke, Will Dean.

Again, I’ve only been able to dip in so far – a quite wonderful story called A Wave of Love from Barbara Copperthwaite that really touched my heart, and another I really enjoyed called Chrysanthemums by SE Lynes – but this is a collection I’m really looking forward to spending more time with over the Christmas period and beyond.

“A win/win when it comes to making you feel good – the stories will do just that, and buying this book will help homeless people.” – Val Mcdermid


“Jack Reacher is a wanderer by choice. Others are homeless through no fault of their own – illness, the loss of a job, the loss of a partner. We need a better system. Buy this book and you’ll enjoy some great stories, and you’ll help Shelter – our best advocate for housing fairness.” – Lee Child


“What a treasure trove of stories! Each one has a different style and I enjoyed all of them. A highly recommended collection for a good cause!” – Glynis Peters


“I loved every page! Each story was the hug I needed, and the stories from this amazing collection of talented authors were told with poignancy. Exactly what the world needs right now.” – Jessica Ryn

And the third collection I wanted to feature is The Dark Side of Christmas, intriguingly subtitled “an anthology of twisted winter tales” – put together by Hobeck Books and featuring their authors, the royalties from this one go to Streetreads, a charitable initiative that encourages reading and creativity amongst the homeless in Scotland. It’s now available at £2.99 for kindle or £9.99 for the paperback (also available via Hobeck Books’ website).

A selection of twisted and moving Christmas tales from the Hobeck Books family of authors and directors.


From ghostly skatings on thin ice, echoes of peppermint creams and the joys of being a secret Santa, to rebellious turkeys, deserted offices, spiteful colleagues and yuletide loneliness – these stories touch on strength of spirit, with the odd splash of blood and gore.


Contributing authors: Rebecca Collins, Judi Daykin, Antony Dunford, Lewis Hastings, Adrian Hobart, Linda Huber, Lin Le Versha, A B Morgan, RD Nixon, Brian Price, S.E. Shepherd, Kerena Swan, Wendy Turbin, Mark Wightman.

While “twisted tales” might not be quite my usual choice of reading, this was a collection I just couldn’t resist – and another cause I’m more than happy to lend my support.

‘What a brilliant set of Christmas short stories! ‘ Nicola Fleming


‘What a ride!’ Rachel Revell


‘Just the ticket to get in the mood for Christmas on these dark days and nights.’ Louise Cannon


‘I really enjoyed all the stories. Quite a mix of humour, darkness, thrills and compassion, all woven together wonderfully to allow the reader to contemplate what Christmas has become to many in this time.’ Sarah Leck

2 thoughts on “#Feature: Christmas is the time for giving… and for reading short stories @emmamitchellfpr @HobeckBooks @LJRossAuthor #TheStarsWillShineAgain #EverydayKindness #TheDarkSideOfChristmas

  1. alexcraigie

    Apart from the support that the sale of these books provide for such excellent causes, the content of all of them sounds well worth splashing out the few pennies that they cost. Thanks, Anne, and have a lovely and healthy Christmas! xx

  2. Anne Post author

    Couldn’t agree more, Alex – and wishing you a lovely Christmas! xx

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