Being Part of Such a Fab Anthology: Giving Something Back – Helping our Heroes

When Stars Will Shine – my reasons for contributing:

When I was given the opportunity to contribute a short story to this anthology I jumped at the chance. I come from a family with a long history of military service and it seemed a fantastic opportunity to give something back to those who have served our country.

My father served in Korea and elsewhere and both sets of grandparents were in the armed forces and served all over the world in both World War 1 and World War 2 as well as various other conflicts.

One grandfather signed up for WW1 at the age of 14 – he lied about his age – and was in the trenches of France immediately. All his brothers joined up and served too. He survived the war and was posted to India where he served until 1947, having taken part in WW2 during this time. He and his men – from British Indian Army – were posted to North Africa and fought Rommel. He survived without any injuries thankfully but sadly many of his brave men were killed.

Grandfather who signed up aged 14 and served in WW1 & WW2
WW1 – an Uncle in uniform
Into the Army straight from The Duke of York School, an Uncle. WW1
Three brothers signed up at the same time in WW1 – my three uncles.

My grandmother’s first husband had been deployed all over the world by the time she married him in the early 1900s, and he was invalided out of the Army during WW1, having been hit by shrapnel and badly injured at the Somme. After a period working as a Master at a Public School, he and my grandmother enlisted in the RFC (Royal Flying Corps) later to become the RAF (Royal Air Force). He died of wounds in the early 1920s.

Grandmother enlisted in the RFC in WW1, later it became the RAF

One of my grandmother’s older brothers served in WW1 – he was in the British Army in the Irish Guards and died of wounds suffered at the Somme in 1916

1st Batt. Irish Guards in Fermoy, S. Ireland 1904
1st Batt Irish Guards, my grandmother’s brother

Another grandfather – my grandmother’s second husband – was gassed more than once serving in France in WW1 and suffered from what was called ‘Spongy’ lung until his death in 1955.

Various relations have also served throughout many wars and campaigns going back generations. One second cousin never recovered from his WW2 experiences, suffering a severe mental illness until he died, and a promising future as a talented artist was lost.

More recently one of my brother’s and several cousins have served in the Army and one in the RAF (still serving) and they’ve been involved in most modern conflicts around the world. Another brother, in the Merchant Navy, supplied our forces in the Falklands War at great risk to the ship he was on and under constant fire.

Our service as a family is not unusual, there are families all over Great Britain and Northern Ireland who have served for many generations. Indeed, around the world.

When Stars Will Shine is my way to contribute to the rehabilitation and treatment of those who have fought to preserve our freedom and who have suffered – are suffering – as a result. Raising funds for Help for Heroes is the least I can do.

My story is called ‘Penance.’

When Stars Will Shine

When Stars Will Shine is a collection of short stories from your favourite authors who have come together to deliver you a Christmas read with a twist.

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!

A Note from Emma Mitchell:

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.

Full contents:

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

When Stars Will Shine has been available in digital and paperback formats since 9 December 2019.

For more information, please contact Emma Mitchell:

All Family photos (c) Jane Risdon – except if stated otherwise. All rights reserved.


    • Jacquie, it has some cracking stories in it and it is getting some fab reviews and coverage in the Press too. Tear-jerkers in there and some real-life stories of those whose relatives served. Well worth reading. Thanks. xx

      Liked by 1 person

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