The Other Wenches ~ A Community of Joy

August is Read-A-Romance Month.


I hope you’ll visit every day in August to see what 93+ of your favorite authors have to say about the Joy of Romance.

(Check out the calendar. And follow RARM on Facebook!)

Do you love Romance? Let’s celebrate. xo

Today is Word Wenches Day! I just love this group of writer friends who have a terrific blog and write amazing books. Last year I invited all of the Wenches to take part in Read-A-Romance Month, but this year I just didn’t have room for everyone. I thought I’d accommodate them with having Mary Jo Putney and Anne Gracie do full posts, and have the rest of them collaborate on the third post of the day. I hope you enjoy this as much as I did. xo ~ Bobbi

The Word Wenches ~ Celebrating A Joyful Journeylast chance

Romance fiction is joyful. It celebrates connections, community, and the ability to overcome challenges in order to enjoy loving relationships. Perhaps it’s not surprising, then, that romance writers often form communities of friends, as is the case with the Word Wenches. We’ve recently celebrated our blog’s ninth anniversary, and we’re already looking forward to our tenth. (

In a romance novel secondary characters, and often the readers, have doubts that the couple can make it. Wrong side of the tracks. Clashing temperaments. Cop and robber. The Wenches don’t have those problems, but we’re eight very different personalities, and we’re all creative people. We come up with ideas — a lot. We discuss them in our e-mail group — with enthusiasm, but often in different directions. It’s not so much herding cats as attempting to herd butterflies in a field of enticing blossoms, and we don’t have a herder. Thank heavens for our administrative anchor, Jo Beverley’s daughter-in-law, Melissa Beverley.51I8D2YiPjL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_

To add to our complexity, we don’t all stick to historical romance. (Can you imagine the problems we’re having trying to come up with a new blog banner that reflects our identity?)

Some of us — Anne Gracie, and Joanna Bourne —  stick to Regency/Georgian historical. Sort of. Neither is exactly run of the mill!  Patricia Rice, however, has written romances in many times and places, and also published contemporary paranormals as Jamie Quaid. Nicola Cornick has explored Scotland but also the Arctic. Susan King writes Scottish historical romance, but also historical novels as Susan Fraser King, including one about Lady Macbeth. Cara Elliot/Andrea Pickens/Andrea Penrose has multiple identities, including one that writes Regency mysteries.  Jo Beverley sometimes wanders to the SF&F side in her short fiction and has written four medievals. Mary Jo Putney has included magic in some of her historicals, and has also written contemporaries.

Never mind, we know a romance couple thrives on differences, yes? But could they handle 51zI74GHa9L._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_time zones? The Wenches span the globe.

Anne is in Australia; Nicola and Jo in England; Susan, Cara, Joanna, and Mary Jo on the east coast of the US; and Pat is in California.  Do we see a problem here?  There’s an eight hour time difference between England and California, and Anne is going to sleep as Nicola and Jo are waking up. Shades of Ladyhawke! Often we non-Australians are not even sure what day it is Down Under.

In best romance tradition, however, Anne is understanding of the rest of us, and we all compromise and adapt, because of course, the results are worth it — a vibrant blog, firm friendships, and even a couple of Wench anthologies After the one with linked stories some butterfly wings were bruised, but in the best romance tradition, there were happy endings all around. cara elliott

We often celebrate joyous aspects of historical discoveries on the blog, but here are some specific joy moments. 

Joanna Bourne –  joannabourne.coma moment. I am filled with joy every year when the cold times come. I light a fire in my woodstove and it uplifts my spirit. The light, the color, the sound, the smell, the warmth … nothing could be more powerful and beautiful and I have it right here under my hand. Sometimes, just to put the cherry on the baba au rhum, I toss on some colorizers and watch the fire burn blue.

Cara Elliot –  – a place. A spark of joy lights inside me every time I revisit the small Gothic courtyard where I lived during college. All the words of wisdom that inspired me with a lifetime love of learning seem to echo softly off the honey-colored stone. But far more importantly, I also hear the laughter, the tears and silly all-night heart-to-hearts shared with special friends as we felt our way from adolescence to adulthood. Jo BeverleyThat those friendships are still a wonderful part of my life is a source of joy beyond measure.

Jo Beverley  – –  a sound. There are many joyous sounds and mostly they are simple. A blackbird singing outside my window. Bells pealing on Sunday at the local church. But my personal joy is my large Woodstock chimes that hang in my hall so they can be touched every time we go by. Every time gives me a mellow, tranquil joy.

Susan King  – – a book. Many, many books have brought me a sense of happiness, though each book that’s stirred a feeling of joy for me has been rich with discovery—the excitement or the comfort of story, character, time or place, the beauty or simplicity of the prose. Those span a range of authors, titles and genres, though some of the most special were books I read as a child. nicolacornick

To choose just one that was a genuine joy, that I read again and again, finding some new surprise each time — I’d have to say Pippi Longstocking. I adored free-spirited Pippi, loved the silly delight of those books, the friendship and loyalty, the love and tenderness there. I discovered the unconditional joys that storytelling can bring — and I grew up hoping to find that in every book I  read.

Nicola Cornick  – – a Chris. Being British I thought Chris Evans was the irritating DJ they’ve just picked to host Top Gear. I had to google all of them except Chris Hemsworth. For me it has to be Christopher Plummer because The Sound of Music is a film that is full of joy. The character of Maria loves life and all it has to offer, she loves the beauty of the world she lives in and takes joy from it, and she has lots of love to give to QueenHereafterCaptain Von Trapp and his children. She brings joy into their lives and their transformation from buttoned up and regimented into happy and demonstrative is lovely to see.

Another “Chris” of choice would be Christopher Marlowe, the contemporary of  Shakespeare who was variously known as a poet, playwright, spy, duellist, magician and rakehell. He sounds mad, bad and dangerous to know. Fun!

The Wenches recommend:

(one fairly new author and one established one)

The newer voice is Donna Thorland ( who also writes for the WGN historical drama, SALEM. Thorland sets her stories in the American Revolution, one of those time periods we don’t see often enough.  The Turncoat, her first book, is set in 1777 Philadelphia. It has everything — a brave and brilliant heroine, swashbuckling adventure, spies, smugglers, balls and battlefields, vivid historical detail, sexy romance …  did I mentions spies …? Thorland’s books are beautifully imagined and painstakingly researched. A delight to those of us who care about history.

An established voice and Wench favorite is Susanna Kearsley (, who writes beautifully romantic time slip novels that carry the reader into a richly conveyed time and place. In her first novel, Mariana the heroine finds a portal to the seventeenth century and as alternate life there. In her recent The Firebird, the heroine’s ability to see into the lives of previous owners of objects carries her and the man she loves into the riches and dangers of eighteenth century courts.

The Wenches are generously offering an ARC of the 2015 Wench anthology,The Last Chance Christmas Ball, to one US reader, and a copy of the first Wench anthology, Mischief and Mistletoe, to an international reader. Entries below.

Buy  the Wenches books:

availableon-amazon  availableon-nookavailableon-kobo

a Rafflecopter giveaway
a Rafflecopter giveaway