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Chicks, Rogues and Scandals; What’s New For 2019?

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I am one of those types of people who no matter how busy and topsy-turvy my life is, I can never keep still, I am always looking for more to do. Really, I am a glutton for punishment; as my great gran used to say. I do like to keep things fresh and try new things out; maybe not in real life as being a full-time carer prevents me from such selfish pursuits, anyone who cares for loved ones knows what I mean by that. Which is why this year I will be starting a couple of new things on Chicks, Rogues and Scandals.

Firstly, I will have a new ‘thing’ on the blog; Off The Bookshelf, which is basically what is says. These will be reviews of the books that I have – yep, you guessed it; on the bookshelf. I thought to mix things up a bit in-between the Arc reviews, I have lined up that I would finally start reading all the books that have been residing on my bookshelf for way too long – both the physical shelf and the Kindle shelf; Honestly it’s ridiculous how many books I’ve bought that I have yet to read. I think I may be addicted to buying books, I just can’t help myself. Only problem is that I forget to read them.

These reviews will be at least every month, dependant on how busy I am. I really like the idea of having this very interactive with my followers so I will be setting up a vote, poll or something on Facebook or Twitter where you all can really get involved, and choose what I read next in the ‘Off The Bookshelf’ section.

Secondly, This year I will be doing a Book of The Month – or something along those lines, I am still tinkering with what to call it at the minute. I will do a feature post about the Book Of The Month, it will have all the links to the book and author. It’s still in the early stages as I iron out the wrinkles as I am still deciding whether to have it has a page too, but one thing for sure; is that I will feature my ‘Book Of The Month’ at the top of the side bar of the blog for all visitors to see and hopefully read for themselves. I do love sharing books in that way, it’s very visual way to recommend books.

I may even open up the Book Of The Month section of the blog to authors who would like to have their books featured on Chicks Rogues and Scandals, if you like the idea then you are more than welcome to get in touch.

So there you go, this year both Off The Bookshelf and Book Of The Month will be up and running on the blog and as always, I would love to know you thoughts on these two ideas.

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New Edition to The Blog – Nothing But Romance Series

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I have decided that I am going to start a new series of guest post’s, it’s called “Nothing but Romance” and it is going to be exactly that, an whole range of posts about Romance. Romance itself is such a diverse topic it can cover so many different angles, and you can enjoy romance in so many different forms everything from reading, listening to music and watching films and TV shows. Then there is how romance makes us feel and how romance is so important to have just a sprinkle of romance in our lives. We really don’t celebrate and talk about romance enough, and how it can be so beneficial for us so this is what my Nothing but Romance series is about.

So ‘Nothing but Romance’ is open for all that love Romance and you are a Reader/Reviewer or Author then this is open for you. All posts will be added to the Nothing but Romance page, for everyone to read and enjoy and maybe be inspired by.

The Guidelines – or lack of them!

  • You must be a Reader/Reviewer or Writer (or apart of that community, in someway) with an interest in Romance.
  • The post must be about Romance – here are just a few examples; Why you read/write romance, Why romance is important for us, What we can learn from romance, What we do to keep romance alive….You get the idea, but it’s up to you.
  • Along side your post, I will add a little spotlight on you so this will be a bit of a bio about who you are, links to where people can follow your review/learn about your work and profile picture – just so people can see who you are. (If you could provide these, that would be great)
  • The post will be yours to write about what ever you like about romance – yes, I am giving you free reign – as long as it’s not disrespectful, derogatory or abusive and if I feel it is, your post WILL NOT BE POSTED!!
  • I will read everything before posting, so nothing will get past me!

If you are an author and you are interested in participating in this new series, you are all welcome. You don’t have to have already been featured on Chicks, Rogues and Scandals to participate, as this new venture isn’t associated with my reviewing.

If you are interested in me reviewing your work then please read my Reviewing Policy first.

So if you think that this is something that You would be interested in participating in then you can contact me either direct on Facebook and Twitter or by using the form below.

I am really excited about how this new project is going to go and what I am going to learn from it, my aim is to have a post out a month dependant on how many requests I get.

News : Review Request’s Up-Date

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I am changing my “Review Request Policy” so this will affect who and what I review, I decided to write a post instead of just editing my “Review Policy” because I wanted to explain my reasons for the change to my reviewing policy.

I wanted to put the minds of those authors – that are on my books (so to speak) for reviews – to rest, and assure them that I am not giving up reviewing. I have just got to the stage in my reviewing life and my personal one where I need to make this change so that I can still review at the same high quality in which I review at now. If I don’t change my review policy it would mean letting authors down and that is something that I really don’t want to do.

New Reviewing Policy (This will be added to my Review Policy Page)

From now on I will only accept review requests if you fall into one of the following categories:

• I have previously reviewed your work before and enjoyed it (eg: I rated it a four or five stars on Goodreads).

• I have featured you on Chicks, Rogues and Scandals (eg; Author Interviews or guest posts).

• I am on your Reviewers Street Team. 

I have shown an interest in your work on social media.

This does mean that from now on until further notice I won’t be accepting new to me authors – unless I have shown an interest in your work – I am very sorry if this comes as a disappointment to anyone, but as I am about to explain it is just not possible to take on new authors that are not in the above categories.

I am sorry!

I am still happy to host guest posts, Spotlight and cover reveals and I am always on the lookout for authors to feature in my “A Chat With…” Author Interview Page. So, if you still want to feature on Chicks Rogues and Scandals just send me a message whether that be email, comment, Direct Messaging via Facebook or Twitter or even carrier pigeon, I will always reply.

So why have I made this decision?

For the last few months my life, both sides of my life – the reviewing one and my personal one – has been a whirl wind, there has been so much going on. I have got things going on in my family/personal life that I would rather not divulge on my blog, but let’s just say there has been trials and changes that I now need to do my reviewing around and not just alongside as I have always done. I hope that makes sense?

The way that Chicks Rogues and Scandals has gone from strength to strength is just astounding and I am so very humbled by all the support that I have had, and the very kind messages that I get on a daily basis. It is very touching to get messages from my followers who tell me that I have inspired them to read more, or that I have introduced them to new authors. That, for me is the ultimate compliment and one that I am very proud of. That is one of the reasons that I started blogging, not just to share my thoughts and opinions on books and various others topic that I tend to babble on about, but to get none readers to pick up a book, to introduce new authors to fellow readers and I am rather proud that I have accomplished those set out goals.

In the last nearly two years since Chicks Rogues and Scandals was born – two years in October! Wow, that has flown by. I have been so privileged to connect with the most amazing people that anyone could meet, a lot of those wonderful authors who have taken a chance on this amateur reviewer have become firm friends – I’m pretty sure you know who you are *cough* Unlaced Ladies 😉 and those fellow reviewers that I have met along the way have also become the some of the most important people in my life – I hope you six ladies know who you are (Carol, Rose, Shell, Alison, Gwessie and Amy).

Yet, as well as Chicks Rogues and Scandals has been going there is a bit of a cost to that bit of success and that has to be the amount of review requests that I get. Don’t get me wrong I love getting the messages and emails on a daily basis from authors and publishers asking for a review from me, I get a warm feeling deep down. But it has got to the point now where I am turning down reviews, I hate writing those messages or emails saying to an author that I can’t review their work. I always feel callous and rude to reject those requests, which is why I have written this post.

I hope this post has explained everything but if you have any questions then don’t be afraid to leave me a message, Thank you again for all the support and kindness that everyone has shown me. Now that I have put this new Reviewing Policy in place I no longer have to rush and get stressed when I’m late with a review, back to my chilled out of overly laid back approach.

Frankie x

Cover Reveal – Fatal Masquerade (Lady Alkmene, Cosy Mystery #4) by Vivian Conroy

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I have the great pleasure of being apart of Vivian Conroy’s latest Cosy Mystery Cover Reveal of Fatal Masquerade, which is book four in the Lady Alkmene Cosy Mystery series. So drum roll please….

Blurb

Lady Alkmene and Jake Dubois are back in a gripping new adventure facing dangerous opponents at a masked ball in the countryside.

Masked Danger….

Lady Alkmene Callender has always loved grand parties, but when she receives an invitation to a masked ball thrown by Franklin Hargrove – oil magnate, aviation enthusiast and father of her best friend, Denise – she’s never seen such luxury. The estate is lit up with Chinese lanterns in the gardens, boats operated by footmen float across the pond and the guest list features the distinguished, rich and powerful!

But below the glamour, evil is lurking. When a dead body is discovered, it forces Lady Alkmene to throw off her mask and attempt to find the true killer before Denise’s family are accused. If only her partner, Jake Dubois, weren’t hiding something from her…

This case might just be more dangerous than either of them could have imagined.

Fatal Masquerade is to be released on 4th October and can be pre-ordered now at Amazon.

A Chat With…Author Elisabeth Hobbes

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Today I am so pleased to have Harlequin and Mills and Boon author Elisabeth Hobbes chatting with me, so take a seat and let’s get to know a bit more about Elisabeth.

You can find me hanging around The Unlaced Bookclub on Facebook along with other Harlequin Historical authors. I grew up in York where I spent most of my teenage years wandering around the city looking for a handsome Roman or Viking to sweep me off my feet. Sadly it never happened but I developed a love of the past and went on to read History and Art History at university before venturing into the world of teaching. I live in Cheshire with my husband, two young children and two cats with ridiculous names because the car broke down here in 1999 and I never left.
I love historical fiction and have a fondness for dark haired, bearded heroes. When I’m not writing, I spend a lot of my spare time reading and have become something of a pro at cooking one-handed while holding a book! I’m fond of ginger mojitos and Thai hot and sour soup, though not at the same time.

Reading Chick: Hi Elisabeth, Welcome to Chicks, Rogues and Scandals! Thank you for taking the time to chat with me today. Firstly what five words would you use to describe yourself?

Elisabeth : Hi, it’s lovely to be here. Only five words. Hmm….Mum, teacher, frazzled (owing mainly to the first two), creative, geeky.

Reading Chick : If you could live in any era and place, When and where would it be? And Why?

Elisabeth : Not the Middle Ages, despite writing about the period and being fascinated by it I wouldn’t want to pay it more than a quick visit! I couldn’t cope with the lack of plumbing and hygiene.

The Roaring Twenties and thirties in New York looked like an amazing time to be alive. The clothes, cocktails and music are all wonderful. I’d go hang around the Algonquin and try make friends with Dorothy Parker or pretend I was in a Jeeves and Wooster story.

Reading Chick : Ooh! I like it, Who was your childhood hero?

Elisabeth : Han Solo. He was so cool and I was a real tomboy so spent playtimes running around pretending to be on the Death Star. I first saw Star Wars when I was little, I don’t think I quite understood what I liked about him. Of course when I got a little older… Yum! That’s probably where I developed my love of rogues and heroes with slightly blurred moral codes and a dangerous twinkle. You never quite trusted he would do the right thing.

Reading Chick : Totally agree with about wayward rogues. What is your favourite time of the year?

Elisabeth : I love to be warm so summer (though I’m fond of winter because I love to ski). Teaching means I’m lucky enough to get a few weeks holiday travelling round France or Spain with my family and I love the light nights where I can sit outside with only a couple of layers on rather than bundled up to the eyebrows.

Reading Chick : Out of all your work, who is your favourite character and why?

Elisabeth : Oooh, difficult, I love all my children! Generally I’m fondest of whoever I have just written so in this case it’s Roger Danby, the roguish brother from The Blacksmith’s Wife who has now got his own story. If I have to choose a previous one I have a bit of a soft spot for Will, the hero of A Wager for the Widow. He’s flirty and cocky (there’s that Han Solo influence) and like me he prefers his oysters cooked to raw.

Reading Chick : Where does your inspiration for your books come from?

Elisabeth : Places play a huge part in my ideas. The Blacksmith’s Wife is set in York where I grew up and on the nearby moors that I love to visit, because I wanted to take a city girl and put her in the middle of nowhere. I fell in love with St Michael’s Mount in Cornwall and thought it was such a beautiful, isolated place for a character to withdraw from the world so I gave it to Eleanor in A Wager for the Widow. The Saxon Outlaw’s Revenge sprang from walking around the Cheshire countryside on a damp, misty day and imagining the execution of a group of unsuccessful rebels and needing to find out who they were. One day I’m going to set a story in Briancon, the lovely Medieval town I stay in when I go skiing.

Reading Chick : What a great answer, What three tips would you pass on to an aspiring author?

Elisabeth : Keep notebooks or paper everywhere because you never know when the perfect sentence or line of dialogue might pop into your head and there’s nothing worse than only half remembering it (deciphering my 3am pitch black scribbles is always fun).

Write something every day, even if it is only one sentence because they do build up and you can’t edit nothing.

Join some sort of writing group, whether online or in real life and be prepared to take criticism. Some people are brutal but mostly I’ve found other writers to be a supportive group are really happy to offer suggestions and advice.

Reading Chick : If you were hosting a dinner party what three people would you invite? (They can be real/fictional, from any era)

Elisabeth : There would have to be other authors so I could pick their brains. Terry Pratchett and Jane Austen because they’re two of my all time favourites and I suspect they’d both enjoy talking about how they deal with class and convention. The third would be Tom Hiddleston so I could apologise for the cover of The Saxon Outlaw’s Revenge looking nothing like him (not that I don’t like the model I got)!

Reading Chick : Thank you, Elisabeth for taking the time out of your busy schedule to chat with me today, I have just one more cheeky question, just for fun . . . What is your all-time favourite naughty but nice food?

Elisabeth : My naughty treat is crisps. I’m a savoury rather than sweet girl (I’m sure many would agree) and I could eat my way through bag after bag if I wasn’t disciplined, especially if I had a glass of wine to hand.

It’s been a pleasure. Thank you for having me.

Thank you for chatting with me, it’s been a pleasure having you visit.

If you want to know more about Elisabeth and her work, then check out the links below.

Website

Twitter : @ElisabethHobbes

Facebook : @ElisabethHobbes

Amazon

Goodreads

Women of Steel; International Women’s Day Special

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During both World Wars, women had to take over what was then classed as “Men’s Work”, even today certain parts of the work place is designated to men because the work is “far too dangerous, far too hard and far too dirty” to let women do it, and even when we do go into those areas of work, women are more often frowned upon, or not welcomed. As a woman who has been in various area’s of work, I have done all sort’s but yet at those times when I have worked in a primarily male environment I have been made to feel very out-of-place, or being the only woman on site, I have either been leered at or treated with kids gloves. After all these years of proving that we can do anything a man can do we, women are still delegated to looking pretty and making tea. This is why International Women’s Day is so important, we have celebrate just how brilliant we, women are and we have to remember all those amazing women before us that did just what men thought they couldn’t.

Today I am talking about the amazing women, who – during both wars – went into the mans world and they did a damn good job. My main focus today is about the those incredible women who went into what was by far one of the hardest and dangerous industries; The steelworks! Now my dad was a steel worker and I have seen what it did to him, the scars from where he was injured, the damaged hearing and other seen and unseen scar’s that all steelworkers carry with them. For me, this particular ‘A Little history ‘ post is very personal and one that I have been wanting to post for a long time.

During WW2, with all our men gone to fight the world-famous Sheffield Steelworks had to keep going, in fact it was critical for the war effort that it keep open, due to the fact that the Steelworks were making the very ammunition that our soldiers needed. But all the men were gone, who would man the Steelworks? There was only one for it. Women!

Sheffield women donned their overalls and walked in to that factory with their heads held high and they did the job. Like in every other Steelworks around the country, the women took over and they ruled. Usually when we think of heroes from WW2 we think of the Land Army Girls, The Wrens and the front line Nurse’s, but this band of extraordinary women slaved away, day in and day out in Sheffield’s Steelwork, it was highly dangerous work but highly important work, without them who knows what would have happened – the war could have ended very differently.

The work they were doing was so far removed from what they would have been used to, most were pulled from their own jobs in Retail and Hospitality while the majority of the women were housewives. It is said that they got very little training, if any at all and most this would have been their first ever taste of work. Can you imagine how that would have been? Being forced from what you know into that hot, dangerous and intimidating factory, where one false move could very well end your death, if your lucky you get basic training. In constant fear of the burners over heating and there being an explosion, of getting burnt daily. Then there are the long-term injuries such as back problems, hearing loss, eye sight problems. Shoulders, knees and hand problems where they would have been burnt and strained and in some cases psychological problems after experiencing accidents.

The work was hard, typical daily tasks would have included picking up the steel at one end while a colleague had held of the other end, they would then have to put the steel into the heat and hammer it. Another daily task was climbing 20ft ladders to use forklifts, so it was no good complaining about being scarred of heights, you just had to get on with it, and grin and bear it. The days long with only perhaps Sunday free, it was hard manual labour, if all that was bad enough then there was the ‘Canary Girls’ who worked with the chemicals inside the ammunition. Their skin would turn yellow because of being in constant exposure of chemicals, they would get ill and they were in constant fear that the chemicals they were handling daily could explode.

What is incredible though is that once the war was over and the men returned, they walked straight into the Steelworks, told the woman to go back to their own lives without so much as a Thanks or Well done. These women had gone above and beyond to keep the factory running and to keep those very men in ammunition and that was the thanks that they got. Go back home!

The men may not have given these incredible women the respect and recognition that they deserved but we do. In Sheffield City Centre there is the proud and iconic Steel Statue, that is quite fitting called; The Women of Steel, which is in tribute to those inspirational women who did so much for us.

If you want to learn more about The Women of Steel then follow the Link http://www.sheffieldnewsroom.co.uk/tag/women-of-steel/

Below is just a few of the many ways that women were taking on so-called men’s work during WW2.
In early 1941, the Government Minister for Labour declared that ‘One million wives were wanted for war work” December 1941 the National Service Act was passed in Parliament, which included that all unmarried women aged 20 -30 were to be conscripted for war work, (The age was extended later to 19 -43). They had to either join the Armed Forces, work in a factory or work the land with the Woman’s Land Army

ATS : The Auxiliary Territorial Service.
The ATS was a branch of the British Army during WW2, all women between 17 and 43 could join, although they were barred from serving in battle. They took on the roles such as cooks, storekeepers, orderlies, drivers and postal workers. Later in the war as there was becoming a shortage in men, the women in the ATS became radar operators and anti-aircraft gun crew members.

WRNS : The Women’s Royal Navy Service.
At the beginning of the war, the women’s branch of the Royal Navy was seen as a way of freeing men who were in non-combatant roles, such as cooking and driving to fight. “Join the Wrens’ today and free a man to join the fleet.” Which is what a recruitment poster urged women to do. The Wrens’ went on to do very important and varied work such as code-breaking at Bletchley Park and operating radar equipment.

HAPPY INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY!

The Relationship Between Author and Reviewer, From the Reviewers Point of View

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bookreviews1Before I started Chicks Rogues and Scandals, I never really understand just how important reviewers are to an author, or that they could have these great relationship’s all based on a common joy. Reading. I had just taken those quotes in the front of a book for granted and I was, I will admit it ignorant to all the hard work that an author goes through to get their work out there.

That’s sound’s pretty shameful doesn’t it? After all the book’s I read and hires-6-158x300I never saw the importance of a reviewer, even once I started blogging and I posted review’s of my own it still didn’t register how important honest reviewers are to an author, I had started Chicks Rogues and Scandals for the sole purpose of putting out my thoughts and opinions and to encourage more people to read. Then came the day when I was approached by my first author, asking if I wanted to exclusively read their work in return for an honest review. I was ecstatic, I couldn’t believe it that this brilliant person wanted me, a novice at all this reviewing lark to review their work. You cannot believe how thrilled I was, it felt like a real achievement and I will say that I was pretty giddy for days.

Well I did the review, I sent it back and I sat there on tenter hook’s wondering what they will think of what I have said about their work? Was I too opinionated? Did I put enough into my review? or was my review too long and drawn out? and then I got a reply and the author couldn’t have been more kind, they were thrilled by what I had written, but it wasn’t until I saw their promotional tweet’s and post’s that they had used a quote from my review.

vintage_scrapbookMy review was quoted and used as promotion for this great book, that was just an incredible moment for me and I will admit that I have started a scrapbook which, contains those promotions with my quotes. Is that odd? If it is I don’t care, I felt really proud of myself in that moment and I still do every time I get a request for another review.

For me it was in that moment, on that first requested review that it finally dawned on me just how important each is to the other. The author thrives on those honest thoughts and opinions from the reviewer, and the reviewer (In my opinion) is just doing what they love, which is reading. If I was an author, which obviously I’m not, I would respect the reviewer if they were totally honest and didn’t just write what they think I would want to hear, and wrote exactly what they thought about my work. So that is what I try to do, I always put exactly what I think in the review, if there is something that I don’t like then I will add it, as polite as I am I always try to do that as respectfully as possible because I just hate being rude about another person’s livelihood.

hugging-smileysSo there we have it, my “I have seen the light” moment, since that first author approached me and asked me to review their work, I have approached by so many wonderful people – it stills makes me giddy that these brilliant people ask me – it is so amazing and I have gained brilliant relationship’s with them all. Now finally I understand that special friendship between author and reviewer, having got first hand experience and I feel very honored that I can say I have it too.