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:

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  • Wonderful network of friends! Your idea is amazing, congratulations… 😀

  • Amy Livesay Hart

    Thank you for the chance!

  • Jennifer C

    I love how you all work together and are friends!

  • Marissa Yip-Young

    Nothing like a wench to tame a rake~

    • Anne Gracie

      LOL — that’s the plan, Marissa. 🙂

      • Marissa Yip-Young

        And you know how those rogue rakes need a lot of help~

  • Anna

    It’s such a fun collaboration to see – so much variety and yet so much in common!

  • girlygirlhoosier52

    I love how it is such a sharing and giving group!

  • alisha woods

    love anthologies

  • mariannewestrich

    What a fun group! Love to see such genuine caring for each other.

  • Dorothy Salvagin

    Wow! I look forward to discovering some new authors.

  • Molly

    I look forward to reading of of your books and finding new authors.

  • Sue G.

    What a fun group of writers. Have you ever all been together in person at one time?

    • Anne Gracie

      Sue, no we haven’t. I think the most we’ve had together at one time was a few years ago, at an RWA conference in NY, when Jo Beverley, Mary Jo Putney, Joanna Bourne, Nicola Cornick, Andrea/Cara Elliott, Pat Rice and I were there. Susan King wasn’t able to come. Still with daily email contact over the eyars, we know each other pretty well.

  • Karen Mikusak

    Thanks for the opportunity to win. It sounds like a great anthology.

  • Kareni

    I’ve had a lot of fun browsing the Word Wenches site; I discovered it sometime after becoming a Joanna Bourne fan. Best wishes to you all!

  • Patty Vasquez

    I just discovered the joy of reading Susanna Kearsley’s books this summer. After reading the summaries of Donna Thorland’s books, I clearly need to add her to the list of authors whose books I need to read! Thank you for the great recommendations.

  • jcp smith

    thank you for the giveaways and the recs

  • Diana Michelle Tidlund

    I love finding anthologies by many different authors…can’t wait

  • Debbie Fuller

    Thank you for sharing and the recommendations.

  • Juanita Decuir

    So many novels I want to read! Joy, I have not ponder on this word in quite a while…

  • Kathryn Trask

    How amazing to have each others support. I live in New Zealand so I get the Down Under time dilemma!

    • Anne Gracie

      Kathryn, I wake up and there’s a slew of wenchly emails, and by the time I get to the end, it’s all decided. LOL

      • lol! I expect sometimes that’s a good thing, and sometimes not! xo

  • LSUReader

    What a treat, having you all visiting today. Really enjoyed this post.

  • Cindy A

    i didn’t know all the alternate names of these authors. Will have to look them up!

    • Anne Gracie

      Cindy, we’re 8 authors who blog together on the word wenches blog — not alternative names.

  • Jerry Marlatt Pierson

    It sounds like a great book. Thank you for your giveaway and a chance to win.

  • Sheryl N

    Great post and I checked out your FB page.

  • Elizabeth ‘Liza’ Schroedle

    I read you blog and went over to like your FB page and ended up buying the ebook by Andrea Pickens. She is a new author for me.

  • Diane Blaser

    I want to win this book! Thanks for the giveaway, and for introducing me to Word Wenches!

  • Sheila M

    Great post! Thanks for getting everyone involved.

  • Julie Ford

    I love all the covers. Thank you for the chance.

  • Aleen D

    Wow Nicola Cornick writes stories set in the Arctic??? I’m sure there are ways to keep warm…. 😉

  • Sharlene Wegner

    Thank you all for sharing your thoughts! What a great bunch of authors!

  • QL fan

    This book looks fabulous! My mother and i will both enjoy it. Thanks for the chance! I follow many of you on FB and Twitter.

  • Erin F

    what a fun post!! Congrats ladies on your blog and your anthology! thanks for sharing 🙂

  • Marcy Shuler

    I love the Word Wenches!

  • K Davis

    You guys are great! I just pre-ordered the book, so don’t include me in the giveaway. But, I can’t wait till September 29th. Best of luck to all of you. 🙂

  • Michele Hayes

    Sounds like a great group of authors. Thanks for the chance to win.

  • catslady

    Most authors that I’ve read and enjoyed with Susan King being a new one for me – thanks.

  • Glenda

    I do love how you ladies split up the moments of joy! I really appreciate getting email updates of the Word Wenches blog. I can’t usually get webpages to load on my phone during lunch at work. 🙂

  • Linda Henderson

    I have read books from most of you so I look forward to reading this one.

  • Eileen Aberman-Wells

    Thank you for sharing and for the recommendations. So many different ways to celebrate JOY.

  • Pamby50

    Thanks for introducing us to Word Wenches. So many different time zones but yet you make it work.

  • Melisa Safchinsky

    Love the support between romance novelists!

  • Sharon Forbes

    I would love to win this book! I really enjoyed reading your post here ladies, you all had some wonderful things to say! Thanks to all of you, and to all of the many, many other authors of romances, you all have given me so many hours of joy, reading the wonderful books of yours, please keep up the great work, romance rocks!! 🙂

  • Carol Luciano

    Word Wenches is a great blog of talented friendl Authors and I’ve enjoyed reading books by all of them. Thanks for the post and book giveaway.
    Carol L
    Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

  • Texas Book Lover

    Another great blog to stalk! Thanks so much!

  • Diane Sallans

    Love those Wenches!

  • Quinn Fforde

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  • May

    Thanks for the recommendations. All sound great. More books to read on my list!

  • kirsten west

    I love being able to come home after work in the winter, light a fire, have some wine, and read.

  • Rhi

    thanks for the giveaway! I loved reading your thoughts.

  • Dawn Anderson

    Most of you are new to me authors, so I would love to win an anthology.

  • Karin

    I’ve been reading Word Wenches blog for years. The posts are so interesting, and the authors always respond to reader comments.

  • Seanna Yeager

    Love seeing authors working together.

  • Janie McGaugh

    Nice to get a glimpse of all you ladies. I, somehow, have not run across Patricia Rice’s alter ego, so I’ll have to look for her Jamie Quaid books.

  • flchen1

    I loved Pippi Longstocking too! She was such a free spirit! And LOL, Jo–you wild woman, what with the colorizers! Can’t wait for this year’s anthology, ladies! I’ve read and re-read your previous collection many times!

  • marypreston

    What do you call a collection of wenches?

  • Kim

    Thanks for the giveaway and post.

  • Kai W.

    Love the selection of books on the post and what the difference of each authors is to you. I have never thought of that.

  • rebecca moe

    Great post! The anthology sounds wonderful–I’ll have to check out the first one ASAP.

  • Mary McCoy

    Thank you wonderful Word Wenches!

  • Sarah Eisele

    Thanks for the giveaway! I always enjoy your books.