Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Stella Whitelaw: Christmas Once More

We're pleased to welcome back, Stella Whitelaw, to Heart of Fiction.

Stella is a prolific author of more than 200 books and short stories, including the popular Jordan Lacey Mysteries, Sweet Seduction, No Darker Heaven, Lucifer's Bride, and others.

In her newest, the Once More Series, Stella pulls together some of her favorite short stories into themed collections. Previously, she published the first in the series, Yesterday Once More, which was a collection of historically based stories -- settings from the 16th to 20th centuries . . . all 'yesterday' stories. Christmas Once More is a similar collection -- stories with a Christmas theme.

There's something for everyone in Christmas Once More. Stories include a woman taking back her life at the holidays, a young girl forced to endure a horrible costume for the sake of a holiday event and making the best of it, neighbors competing for the brightest house decorations, and more. Even some of Stella's favorite kitties make an appearance. Most importantly, all of the stories have an inspiring and happy ending. Readers will laugh and sigh as they read. This is a definite must read for the holidays.

Before we check out the excerpt, remember, Stella is giving away a copy of Christmas Once More to one lucky commenter today. Be sure to leave your email address so we can contact you.

Also, in Tirgearr's 5-in-5 event, all commenters this week will be put into a draw for the grand prize at the end of the week -- all FIVE books published this week. PLUS the three books from last years' event. That's *EIGHT* books to one lucky commenter. Be *sure* to leave your email address so we can contact you.

And if you're on Facebook, Tigearr is running the same event on their events page. Double your chances of winning by joining the event there and leaving your comments --


• • •
A collection of holiday short stories

A Cracking Time
Blue Nosed Clown
Bright Lights
Christmas In January
Christmas is Off This Year
Christmas Schedule Blues
Glad Tidings of Great Joy
Knock, Knock Noel
No Haste Christmas
The Second Ugly Sister
Twelve Days to Christmas

excerpt from Christmas Schedule Blues
Chloe was stressed out merely thinking about Christmas. She kept insisting that it was celebrated on the wrong day, maybe even the wrong month. She’d read somewhere that it was really December 7 or January 24.

“It’s meaningless,” she said, watching her friend Lorraine decorate the office walls with loops of gold-coloured paper and gold-sprayed holly.

“Nonsense,” said Lorraine, moving the steps along to another area of wall. “Doesn’t it all this make you feel better? Feel happier and looking forward to the festivities and fun?”

Chloe shook her head. “Sorry, no. It only makes me feel tired. If you handed me a cracker, I wouldn’t have the energy to pull it.”

“Mince pie? I’ve brought in loads.”

“No, thank you. Too sweet and loaded with calories.”

“Roast turkey on Christmas day?”

“You can buy supermarket turkey all year round, so what’s so special?”


Chloe shuddered. “I can’t stand them. Who started carols, I’d like to know? Those endless carols in shops, recorded carols in the street, carols on the doorstep. Save me from wallpaper carols.”

“What about your family?”

“The only family I have is a brother and he’s in the Navy, somewhere at sea.”

Lorraine pinned up the last sprig of holly. “Oh dear, is there anything that you do like about Christmas?”

Chloe thought carefully. She didn’t send cards or give unsuitable presents or make visits now. “I quite like snow,” she said.

“I’ll order it for you,” said Lorraine. “Remind me to speak to the weather man.”

 • • •
 Stella Whitelaw began writing seriously at the age of nine. She was ill with measles when her father gave her an Imperial Portable typewriter. Covered in spots, she sat up in bed and taught herself to type.

At sixteen, she became a cub reporter and worked her way up to Chief Reporter. She was the first woman Chief Reporter, the youngest, and the only one who was pregnant.

After producing a family, she became Secretary of the Parliamentary Press Gallery at the House of Commons. Secretary then meant the original meaning, Secretariat, the keeper of secrets. She was awarded an MBE in 2001 but is not sure why.

Like Trollope, she wrote books on the train and in the recesses. The Jordan Lacey PI series is her favourite and the cruise crime books. Her big romances, No Darker Heaven and Sweet Seduction, were a marathon adventure.

Stella has won a woman’s magazine national short story competition and the London Magazine’s Art of Writing competition judged by Sheridan Morley. The Elizabeth Goudge Cup was presented to her at Guildford University.

Homeless cats find their way to Stella’s lifelong hospitality and she has written eight books of cat stories for the 7 – 70 plus.

Find Stella online --

Tirgearr Publishing


  1. Welcome back to Heart of Fiction, Stella, and congrats on your new publication. This is a lovely collection of inspiring holiday stories. You're quite a prolific writer. Where do you come up with all of your ideas?

    1. Thank you for giving me another Once More slot. I love the concept and enjoy
      searching for the stories. How about Famous Cats, Once More - Shackleton's cat, Churchill's cat, the VC Simon .... even my cat Topsy who was in a production of Half a Sixpence.

  2. Christmas Once More sounds like a lovely holiday read!

    1. Hi Stella, nice to meet you again here on the Heart of Fiction. I love this site.
      And I love your book, Christmas Once More. It reminds me of when I was a child. What a superb cover. The characters remind me of my sister and I the way we differ over Christmas.
      Looking forward to reading a copy.

    2. Thank you Elizabeth, but we never get time to read at Christmas, do we?
      All that cooking... maybe on Boxing Day if the films are all repeats.

    3. Hi Cathy. I agree. The cover is just wonderful. Charlene designed the cover with endless
      patience and ideas. It was quite difficult to find pictures that were different. We
      didn't want endless snow and Christmas trees. I think Charlene has produced
      a terrific montage.