Monday, 17 September 2018

Free on Kindle!

Kitty McKenzie Book 1 FREE on Kindle 5 days only!!
After losing everything, can she keep her family safe?
‘5 Stars – enjoyable read!’
#Historical #Victorian @amazonkindle

1864 - Suddenly left as the head of the family, Kitty McKenzie must find her inner strength to keep her family together against the odds. Evicted from their resplendent home in the fashionable part of York after her parents’ deaths, Kitty must fight the legacy of bankruptcy and homelessness to secure a home for her and her siblings. Through sheer willpower and determination she grabs opportunities with both hands from working on a clothes and rag stall in the market to creating a teashop for the wealthy. Her road to happiness is fraught with obstacles of hardship and despair, but she refuses to let her dream of a better life for her family die. She soon learns that love and loyalty brings its own reward.

Thursday, 13 September 2018

Blog Tour dates of The Promise of Tomorrow

The Promise of Tomorrow is going on a blog tour - when I write that I always think of a rock star tour - haha - anyway, my lovely historical novel is being featured at the blogs below from October 1st - 8th.
Everyone is welcome to stop by each blog and say hello.

Saturday, 1 September 2018

New Release!

Happy Release Day to me!!
The Promise of Tomorrow has been released!
Can Charlotte find the happiness that always seems under threat, and will Harry return home to her?

Available in ebook and paperback on Amazon:

The Promise of Tomorrow blurb
Charlotte Brookes flees her lecherous guardian, McBride, taking her younger sister with her. After a year on the road, they stumble into a Yorkshire village where the Wheelers, owners of the village shop, take them in. This new life is strange for Charlotte, but preferable to living with McBride or surviving on the roads.  Harry Belmont is an important man in the village, but he’s missing something in his life. His budding friendship with Charlotte gives him hope she will feel more for him one day, and he will marry the woman he yearns for. 
When McBride discovers where Charlotte lives, his threats begin. Harry fights to keep Charlotte safe, but World War I erupts and Harry enlists.  Left to face a world of new responsibilities, and Harry’s difficult sister, Charlotte must run the gauntlet of family disputes, McBride's constant harassment, and the possibility of the man she loves being killed.
Can Charlotte find the happiness that always seems under threat, and will Harry return home to her?

Friday, 24 August 2018

East Enders before Eastenders

Perhaps if you've a spare minute, you'd like to check out my virtual East End turf this weekend? is where you’ll find out about my stories, all set in the East End of London. If you’re partial to a melting pot of family drama, action, crime and courage, bent coppers, strong heroes and feisty heroines then you’ve found the right place. My historical characters are rough, tough, dockland folk, marketeers and costermongers, all of whom are the predecessors to the ‘Eastenders' you watch on the telly!

Lizzie Flowers and the Family Firm is the third and most popular book in the Lizzie Flowers series. When loved ones die and family is threatened by the most vicious crime lord of them all, Lizzie must take action before it's too late. Heard of Charlie Brown's tavern, the East End pub that never died? And the Krays' notorious Blind Beggar? Then step into Lizzie Flowers's Mill Wall and the shady taverns of 1930's docklands! End crooks, villains, protectionists, bent coppers, pimps and tarts - they are all here, clamouring  to jump from the pages, while Lizzie battles to save her turf and find love into the bargain. 

Amazon available in ebook and paperback.

Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Saga authors at the RNA Conference!

Last weekend the Romantic Novelist Association UK held their annual conference at Leeds University.
It is always a chance for authors to spend three days together to 'talk shop' and attend workshops about the industry of being a writer and publishing in general.
It is also a great opportunity to meet old and new friends. The authors of this blog were able to finally get together and, amongst the fun, we took a photo of us, which we thought to put up on this blog so our lovely readers can actually put a face to their favourite authors.

Gathering of the clan. — with Elizabeth Gill, Jean Fullerton, AnneMarie BrearFenella Miller Francesca Capaldi BurgessElaine EverestElaine RobertsSheila Riley.
Front row: Leah Fleming, Shirley Dickson Lizzie LaneFreda Lightfoot and Shirley Dickson. 

Monday, 16 July 2018

Cover reveal for my debut novel - Belle of the Back Streets

As a debut novelist,  I'm VERY proud and happy to be able to share the cover of my first novel Belle of the Back Streets.

The book comes out in hardback, audio book and ebook in November this year, and in March 2019. It is pubished with Headline. 

Belle of the Back Streets is set in the northeast coal mining village of Ryhope in 1919, which is where I grew up (although not in 1919... I'm not quite that old, yet!)

All details at The Headline website

Glenda Young

Twitter: @flaming_nora

Women Affected by World War One

More than 700,000 British men were killed during World War One, and women suffered badly from bereavement, grieving for their lost loved ones. More than a million women never found a man to marry, or the opportunity to bear children. They came to accept they never would have any, their lives having changed forever. They felt lonely with solitary lives and many lost their jobs, once the war was over. At least 750,000 women were made redundant in 1918. All men who returned were highly given priority, and even if a woman had children to care for, and no husband, she would still find it extremely difficult to gain a job.

Many began to seek careers, the facility to be able to vote and the opportunity to live their own life. They also wanted the freedom to enjoy themselves by going to the picture-palace or the palais-de-danse, if they wished of an evening. They weren’t interested in going back to being servants or maids, they either wished to keep the job they’d worked on during the war, or find a better one with good pay to care for themselves or any children they might have. Unfortunately they were not granted equal pay, and had no right to vote until 1918 when a law granted that ability to those over thirty who owned property.

Even those women who were married, their task now was to stay home, cook, clean and care for their family and be a dutiful wife. Their husbands generally felt ashamed of having her working and employers agreed and sacked them. Men saw themselves as the ruling section of society. But some men who had survived were likely to have been injured, maimed, or psychologically damaged, and their wives needed to be the one to work and care for them too.

There were many surplus women after the war. Those lucky enough to have secure financial independence often had no wish to hand it over to a husband and become ruled by him. Others felt desperate for a husband, but suffered loneliness, virginity, no children, grief for lost loved ones, or the loss of their job and rights. My books usually has a strong woman as the main character - who must succeed against all odds. She can be found fighting against the difficulty of her life, aspiring to better herself, and battling against the restrictions and prejudices of the time or whatever other dire circumstances she finds herself in. She must pit good against evil and win by her own efforts, no matter what she has suffered or lost along the way. Cecily greatly believed this, attempted to help her sister and women battling to achieve an improvement in their life. As a member of the suffragists, she was happy to assist local women who risked going on strike in order to earn more money.

Extract from Girls of the Great War: 

It came to Cecily that having been involved with the suffrage movement for so long, she could possibly attempt to assist them in this battle.
    ‘Are you managing to resolve this problem?’ she asked Sally Fielding, one of her former tram workers. A group of them were standing on the Old Town Street holding posters high, one stating: Is a Woman’s Place in the Home? Another said: We Believe in Equality. ‘I can understand why I was not granted my job back on the trams, having been away entertaining the troops in France. Those of you who’ve worked for them throughout the war should have that right.’
    ‘Indeed we should,’ Sally agreed. ‘They accuse us of having less strength and more health problems than men. Absolute tosh! The bloody government treats us like servants. We were doing our bit for the duration of the war but are now being dismissed and replaced by men they consider to be more skilled. We women have worked damned hard and done well. They see us as less productive, which we’re most definitely not and surely have the right to the same pay.’
    ‘Did you join a trade union?’ Cecily asked.
    ‘We did indeed. Once we’d registered to work in the war, why would we not protect ourselves? It was recommended we do that when we were sent a leaflet issued by the War Emergency Workers’ National Committee.’
    ‘Are you managing to provide some funds for unpaid women on strike?’
    ‘Not very well,’ Sally said, pulling a face.
    ‘Right, I’ll help with that.’ She remained with them for the remainder of the day. Taking off one of her boots she held it out to passers-by, begging a donation as a token of their support . When dusk fell she handed over a fair sum of money to Sally. ‘I’ll try to collect more tomorrow. How long will this strike last?’
    ‘Maybe just a couple of days this week. Then if we don’t get anywhere, even longer next.’
    ‘I’ll be there to join you,’ she promised.
    Cecily continued to spend time each day assisting more women by raising money to provide them with an income, as they received none while on strike. It felt such a satisfaction, giving her a fresh purpose in life. Despite the troubles they were enduring she too sorely missed the work she’d been involved with during the war, and her talent. She wrote a brief letter to Boyd, to tell him of her satisfaction in helping these women on strike, being a suffragist. She sorely missed him too.
    ‘Can I do anything more to help?’ s

he asked her friend Sally.
    ‘Aye, you could write a newspaper report depicting our success and why we deserve to receive the same rate of bonus that is being given to men workers, as a result of the war.’
    ‘I’ll be happy to give that a go,’ Cecily agreed. She wrote at length about how many women during the war had worked in munitions, coal, gas and power supplies, factories, transport and various offices.

Cecily Hanson longs to live life on her own terms—to leave the shadow of her overbearing mother and marry her childhood sweetheart once he returns from the Great War. But when her fiancĂ© is lost at sea, this future is shattered. Looking for meaning again, she decides to perform for the troops in France. 

Life on the front line is both rewarding and terrifying, and Cecily soon finds herself more involved—and more in danger—than she ever thought possible. And her family has followed her to France. Her sister, Merryn, has fallen for a young drummer whose charm hides a dark side, while their mother, Queenie—a faded star of the stage tormented by her own secret heartache—seems set on a path of self-destruction. 

As the war draws to a close and their hopes turn once again to the future, Cecily and Merryn are more determined than ever to unravel the truth about their mother’s past: what has she been hiding from them—and why? 

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Thursday, 12 July 2018

I can hardly believe that publication day is just next week, Wednesday18th July.

I’m very happy to say that the Amazon ebook of Lizzie Flowers and the Family Firm, the 3rd book in the Lizzie Flowers series, will be published in just a few days time on Wednesday 18th July. Publication has seemed a long wait, but I wanted to make this story very special. Lizzie’s romance with Danny Flowers hasn’t run smoothly. After her traumatic experiences in The Fight for Lizzie Flowers, (book 2), she has to dig deep to face her most feared adversary of all, a masked man known as The Prince. A misnomer for a very dangerous character indeed!
It was great fun writing this book and especially the baddie. I've been asked if I'll write a fourth Lizzie book. I think I may, since we all know how popular wartime books are. Much love to everyone, Carol xx

Monday, 2 July 2018


A paperback copy of my historical novel, Isabelle's Choice is the prize in a competition held on the Coronation Street blog this week.
Enter for your chance to win.

Monday, 18 June 2018

Soldiers in World War One

Their physical and mental stress was so strong at times that it blocked out their minds, filling them with fear, grim reality, tension, strain and anxiety whenever they approached a battle zone. They would fall into silence, asking themselves if they could cope with the dangers they were about to face. They always dreaded snipers, shell shock, infections and injuries, or to be damaged with shrapnel. It could make their mind go completely numb, particularly if they suffered the loss of a friend. Some could be walking wounded, or could only sleep on a groundsheet against the cold.

Infantry soldiers often knew very little about where they were or what was going on elsewhere. They lacked the facility of maps, news and information, relying on gossip and rumour. Food in Blighty was very much a problem. They might be given bacon and liver, brawn and kidneys, bread and dripping, but not too much food was available. They might have porridge with a few smashed army biscuits boiling in a mess tin with some water and sugar. Sometimes they were given a small drink of beer, and they would take a sip of rum and roll it on their tongue. Soldiers were also expected to keep their boots, caps, badges and buckles well-polished, and would hide them at night in case one of the other chaps might pinch them. Life was not easy, and they very much depended upon friends and letters from their family. It was a relief for them to be given a short break from the frontline when they were feeling worn out, perhaps to walk through the streets unthreatened by locals. Or to enjoy a performance.

War might drain men of energy, but Cecily firmly believed that their minds and spirit needed nurturing. Her team gave regular performances in the camp and at local hospitals. It was not unusual for wounded men to be wheeled out of the wards and lie on stretchers in order to watch, having been treated or were simply waiting for the necessary care. They often happily accepted they could be soaked as rain beat down on them. Cecily would regularly sing and on one occasion, they performed a play. Because some couldn’t be moved, following a concert Cecily would visit the hospital and sing to patients in their beds, or to one alone if he was blind or dying. It was exhausting but moving, her team’s situation ripe with danger too. They performed popular songs, poetry, Shakespeare, comedy and gave a glimpse of ‘Blighty’ often to an audience of thousands. The soldiers were always overjoyed to be entertained.

Extract of Cecily’s first performance in Girls of the Great War. 

There was no proper stage, no curtains, dressing rooms or footlights, but they did have acetylene gas lamps glimmering brightly around the boxes. They worked for hours rehearsing and enduring more instructions from Queenie on what and how they should perform. Cecily suffered a flutter of panic as she became aware of hundreds more men gathering in the audience. A few were seated on boxes or benches, the rest of the area packed with a solid mass standing shoulder to shoulder. Many had been patiently waiting hours for the concert to start. Looking at the state of them it was evident that many had come direct from the trenches where they’d probably been trapped in horrific conditions for months. Those unable to move from their tent pulled the flaps open so that they too could hear the concert.
    Heart pounding and nerves jangling, Cecily felt the urge to turn and run as the moment for the concert to start came closer. Was her mother right and she couldn’t sing well at all? Would they roar and boo at her as they had that time at Queenie?
    She steadied her breathing, smoothed down her skirt with sweaty fingers and when she walked on stage the men gave a loud cheer of welcome. The excitement in their faces filled her with hope and as she stepped forward to the front of the boxed stage the audience instantly fell silent, looking enthralled and spellbound. She exchanged a swift glance with Merryn, counted one, two, three, four . . . and her sister and Johnny both began to play, sounding most professional. Cecily started to sing:
          There’s a Long, Long Trail A-winding. 
          Into the land of my dreams,
          Where the nightingales are singing 
          And a white moon beams: 

    As she sang, her fears, depression and worries vanished in a surge of elation, soaring into a new life, and bringing these soldiers pleasure and relief from the war. When the song was over she received a tumultuous applause, cheers, whistles and roars of appreciation from them. Smiling broadly she went on to sing ‘Roses of Picardy’, followed by ‘Pack Up Your Troubles in Your Old Kit Bag’ and many other popular favourites. Most of the Tommies would readily join in to sing the chorus whenever Cecily invited them to do so. Others would weep, as if fraught with emotion because they were homesick and felt greatly moved by this reminder of England. Then would again cheer and roar with happiness at the end, urging her to sing an encore.
    ‘You are doing quite well,’ her mother casually remarked during the short interval, a comment Cecily greatly appreciated. ‘Now sing some of those jolly music hall songs that I recommended.’
    ‘Right you are.’
    Cecily went on to sing ‘Burlington Bertie From Bow’and ‘Fall In And Follow Me’. These brought bright smiles and laughter to all the Tommies’ faces. She finished with ‘Your King and Country Want You’, bringing forth loud cheers of agreement. How she loved singing to these soldiers. If she hadn’t been a star before, she certainly felt like one now.

Cecily Hanson longs to live life on her own terms—to leave the shadow of her overbearing mother and marry her childhood sweetheart once he returns from the Great War. But when her fiancĂ© is lost at sea, this future is shattered. Looking for meaning again, she decides to perform for the troops in France. 

Life on the front line is both rewarding and terrifying, and Cecily soon finds herself more involved—and more in danger—than she ever thought possible. And her family has followed her to France. Her sister, Merryn, has fallen for a young drummer whose charm hides a dark side, while their mother, Queenie—a faded star of the stage tormented by her own secret heartache—seems set on a path of self-destruction. 

As the war draws to a close and their hopes turn once again to the future, Cecily and Merryn are more determined than ever to unravel the truth about their mother’s past: what has she been hiding from them—and why? 

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Sunday, 10 June 2018

Elaine Roberts: The Foyles Bookshop Girls

Hi, I’m Elaine Everest and I’m thrilled to be interviewing Elaine Roberts about her writing and her debut novel. Having already read the book I can say it is a wonderful story and I hope you all enjoy it.

Welcome, Elaine.

When planning your book what drew you to the time of the First World War?

In The Foyles Bookshop Girls, the main character’s mother was originally a child in my previous Victorian novel, which still sits on my laptop. Someone I know really well suggested I moved the family forward to a different era. With the centenary of the end of World War One approaching, I decided that would make a good backdrop for my saga. I started researching the Great War and gathering historical information, to form a timeline for my character’s story to be woven into.

You have three girls as your main characters, Alice, Victoria and Molly. Do you have a favourite?
This a tricky question because I like them all for different reasons. Victoria is the person that I feel sorry for the most, and I can relate to the guilt Molly is carrying around with her. Alice has a lot to learn, as she has been sheltered from the reality of what life can throw at someone. On that basis, I would probably say Alice, because her journey in The Foyles Bookshop Girls is the greatest.

Why did you pick Foyles Bookshop as the main setting for your books?
I have a love of books, so I was playing with the idea of having my main male character working in, or owning, a bookshop. This evolved as I planned the novel and it was only when I was trying to think of a name for a bookshop that it occurred to me to have Foyles. It is a shop I have been in on numerous occasions. I’ve attended two of their Discovery Days, which enabled writers to have a one to one with an agent. I started to look into their history and that fascinated me, so then there was no going back.

Do you enjoy the research involved in your work and where do you start?
I wouldn’t say I enjoy it, but it is a necessity of writing an historical novel and it’s  important to make sure the events and the flavour of the times are true for the readers.  When I do research, I always involve my husband, Dave, because I have a tendency to get lost in all the information gathering, especially on the internet. I prefer to use reference books for that reason.  When doing the research for The Foyles Bookshop Girls, it was in danger of turning into a war novel, so I had to pare back the information I had.
Libraries are a great source of information and I’ve attended several talks on World War One. Their archive material is priceless. I can also be seen scouring secondhand bookshops. I have collected quite a library now, and in some instances, I just find one little gem that gets me excited and I want to use it. I have several old maps, which I use when I’m planning my novel, mainly because road names can have a habit of changing over the years.

As a new author in the saga world whose work do you admire most and do you mix with other saga writers?
When I decided to change from writing modern to historical, I started reading sagas. I’ve read many but I’m not going to name them, because I know too many of the authors personally. Having said that, I thoroughly enjoy Dilly Court’s novels and it was when I read Christmas Card that I got excited and wanted to give writing a saga a go. That was when the idea for my Victorian novel first came into being and of course The Foyles Bookshop Girls followed it.

I can see from Amazon that there are three books in the Foyles series and are very much looking forward to publication. Can you see yourself taking the girls into any other books?
This is something I would love to do, as they are very much a part of my life. I know their characters inside out, so therefore, know how they think. The book I’m planning after The Foyles series may well contain one of the characters, but that has yet to be decided.

How did you celebrating publication day?
Time suddenly seems to have flashed by and it’s upon us. I thought long and hard about how best to celebrate and decided to do it in the essence of The Foyles Bookshop Girls, Alice, Victoria and Molly. I celebrated the day after the book was released, and this obviously involved wine and cake. I enjoyed afternoon tea with my friends and family.

About Elaine Roberts:
Elaine Roberts had a dream to write for a living. She completed her first novel in her twenties and received her first very nice rejection. Life then got in the way until circumstances made her re-evaluate her life, and she picked up her dream again in 2010. She joined a creative writing class, The Write Place, in 2012 and shortly afterwards had her first short story published. She was thrilled when many more followed and started to believe in herself.
As a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, progressing to full membership from the New Writers Sceme, and The Society of Women Writers & Journalists, Elaine attends many conferences, workshops, seminars and wonderful parties. Meeting other writers gives her encouragement, finding most face similar problems.
Elaine and her patient husband, Dave, have five children who have flown the nest. Home is in Dartford, Kent and is always busy with their children, grandchildren, grand dogs and cats visiting. Without her wonderful family and supportive friends, she knows the dream would never have been realised.

Book Blurb:
London, 1914: one ordinary day, three girls arrive for work at London's renowned Foyles bookshop. But when war with Germany is declared their lives will never be the same again... 
Alice has always been the 'sensible' one in her family – especially in comparison with her suffrage-supporting sister! But decidedly against her father's wishes, she accepts a job at Foyles Bookshop; and for bookworm Alice it's a dream come true. But with the country at war, Alice's happy world is shattered in an instant. Determined to do what she can, Alice works in the bookshop by day, and risks her own life driving an ambulance around bomb-ravaged London by night. But however busy she keeps herself, she can't help but think of the constant danger those she loves are facing on the frontline... 
Alice, Victoria and Molly couldn't be more different and yet they share a friendship that stems back to their childhood – a friendship that provides everyday solace from the tribulations and heartbreak of war. 

Amazon Link:                The Foyles Bookshop Girls

Kobo Link:                     The Foyles Bookshop Girls

Twitter:                           @RobertsElaine11

Thank you, Elaine. Good luck with your lovely book.