A BRADFORD freelance editor has raised nearly £600 for the armed forces just a month after publishing a collection of short stories.

The "When Stars Will Shine: Helping our Heroes One Page at a Time" anthology was released on December 9, with all profits going to the Help for Heroes charity.

It is a collection of mixed-genre tales, which were donated by a variety of authors.

Emma Mitchell, 37, of Eccleshill, decided on the idea after several years of raising money in collaboration with her local pub.

She said: "In doing that, I turned to my author friends who donated signed books to be auctioned off.

"Over those years we raised just short of £2,000."

Last year the pub changed hands, but Mrs Mitchell still wanted to continue fundraising.

She said: "I didn't want to be asking for more free books though, so I thought of this idea.

"I put a post out on Facebook and asked if people would be interested in writing and donating short stories."

Within half-an-hour, the post had 50 responses and the anthology was born.

The book has been a hit, and even reached number one spot in Amazon's anthology category, on the day of publication.

Mrs Mitchell admitted the response from readers and those in the literature community - during and after the process - had blown her away.

She said: "A friend of mine who designs book covers, she donated her time and designed our cover.

"A girl I know helped with editing and proof-reading.

"Everybody just came together and did everything.

"So many book bloggers have got involved too and the reviews coming in, every time I read them I cry."

The stories in the anthology focus on Christmas, but Mrs Mitchell says in the majority of them, this theme is just secondary.

She said: "One is a true story of Rob Ashman's great, great uncle and his experience in World War One.

"I sobbed for hours after it."

Mrs Mitchell said a number of her friends and family had been in the armed forces and she was motivated to raise money for Help for Heroes due to a desperate need for funding.

But the freelance editor is also pleased she could provide an opportunity for aspiring authors, with the anthology's list role including a mix of big names and those who had not been published beforehand.

Paul Moore and Paul T. Campbell were two of those, and it also included Bradfordian Kris Egleton.

The anthology even includes a submission from an author who was literally born among the books.

Malcolm Hollingdrake, who is based in Harrogate and is an esteemed crime novelist, was born in Eccleshill Library.

Mrs Mitchell said: "Malcolm was one of the first to respond and I've known him for a while now.

"He said to me once, 'do you know Eccleshill library', and I told him I'd spent half my childhood in there.

"Malcolm then told me 'I was born on that row, behind that bookshelf, near the crime fiction section.'"

After the success of the anthology, the freelance editor is now planning to undertake a similar project in the summer.

If you would like to get your hands on "When Stars Will Shine", you can buy it from Amazon at: amazon.co.uk/When-Stars-Will-Shine-Helping-ebook/dp/B08234131P/