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Author. Traveler. Cat lover. Introvert.
Recent Activity
hosted by Mary Jo I met Edith Layton and her ten year old daughter Susie at my very first romance conference, when I was under contract but the book hadn't come out yet. Edith and her fellow Signet Regency writer pal Barbara Hazard kindly invited me to join them for a drink. I was in the presence of goddesses! And with us was Susie, bright-eyed, bushy-tailed, interested in everything , and really, seriously bright. So now it's a pleasure to welcome grown up Susie, who is a writer/producer/performer/Jill of all trade who not only inherited Edith's bubbling creativity, but looks... Continue reading
Posted Dec 9, 2014 at Word Wenches
b y Mary Jo On Wednesday, December 10th, Edith's daughter, Susie Felber, will visit us to talk about the long awaited e-release of her mother's classic Regency romances, and on what it was like growing up as her mother's daughter. Guaranteed to be fun! Continue reading
Posted Dec 7, 2014 at Word Wenches
by Mary Jo Relaxing on a cruise is a good way to recover from deadline craziness. It's also good at providing a real drop-dead date because who wants to go on vacation with an unfinished book hanging over one's head like the Sword of Damocles? So I sent Not Always a Saint off to my editor at 1:30 am of the day we left for a cruise of Canadian Maritime provinces and Quebec. (What can I say? My Muse likes to live dangerously, alas.) Eastern Canada has a very long history of settlement by the French and British, and the... Continue reading
Posted Nov 23, 2014 at Word Wenches
by Mary Jo "Revel" derives from a Middle English word that means "celebrate," and it always sounds happy to me. That's why I chose the name Christmas Revels years ago for a print collection of five of my holiday novellas. All of those stories have been released in different e-versions in recent years, but now, for the first time, I'm collecting those original five back into an e-book version of Christmas Revels. The title had been in my mind for years, ever since we visited my sister and her husband in Boston one holiday season, and she took us to... Continue reading
Posted Nov 6, 2014 at Word Wenches
by Mary Jo MJP: Word Wench Joanna Bourne's long-awaited new book, Rogue Spy, will be released tomorrow! Her last book, Black Hawk, won RWA's RITA for best historical romance of the year, and Rogue Spy was named to Library Journal's list of the 10 Best Romances of the year even before it was released. So--Joanna, could you tell us about the story and the characters? I loved not only the protagonists, but all the delightful, kindly criminal elders, such as the Fluffy Aunts. <G> JB: I'm writing a love story, of course, so the emotional mainspring of Rogue Spy is... Continue reading
Posted Nov 2, 2014 at Word Wenches
by Mary Jo Such a deal! In Regency Masquerades, six talented Regency veterans have released a box set containing six full length Regency novels, including the RITA winning Gwen's Ghost by Alicia Rasley and Lynn Kerstan. (This might be the only RITA won by a writing team and the book is great, with Alicia and Lynn writing different characters so the story is integrated seamlessly.) AND they're offering the set for a special introductory price of 99 cents to reward their long term readers! So here, forthwith, are Alicia Rasley, Allison Lane, Brenda Hiatt, Lynn Kerstan, Elena Green, and Gail... Continue reading
Posted Oct 21, 2014 at Word Wenches
By Mary Jo I'm in the crazed mode of finishing a book, so I'm invoking Wench Privilege by re-running an old blog, this one about the spice trade. What gave me the idea was going out to my car after exercising at Curves, and smelling something sweet and tangy from the McCormick spice company headquarters about three miles to the north. Inspiring! ++++Originally published August 3, 2007++++++ I’m sitting on my screened porch on a summer morning, sipping coffee, watching birds, and enjoying the scent of pepper that floats through the summer air. This is unusual—more often, I would smell... Continue reading
Posted Oct 2, 2014 at Word Wenches
by Mary Jo In a Robert Heinlein novel, the War of 1812 is mentioned dismissively as a brushfire conflict on the fringes of the Napoleonic Wars. I'm not sure that the average Briton has any awareness of it at all. But in the US and Canada, the war matters. In my hometown of Baltimore, the war is very, very personal. When I first moved here, I was surprised to find a Maryland state holiday called Defenders Day on September 12. Say what? It turns out that September 12 was the land part of the Battle of Baltimore, where the militia... Continue reading
Posted Sep 18, 2014 at Word Wenches
by Mary Jo I made a flash announcement here when the audiobook version of Dancing on the Wind finally went live two weeks ago, but I wanted to ruminate a bit more on the process. This is the third audiobook that I've produced, and each time there have been more things to learn. Though I'm still a novice, for me the key points are: 1) The first big challenge is finding The Voice. Someone I like listening to, and who will also appeal to regular audio listeners. I have a fondness for a lovely deep male voice (calling James Earl... Continue reading
Posted Sep 2, 2014 at Word Wenches
by Mary Jo Yayyyy! After numerous delays (I'm never going to produce an audiobook under a Mercury retrograde again!), the audio of my RITA winning Regency historical Dancing on the Wind (Book #2 ofthe Fallen Angels series) has now gone live on and should soon be up at Amazon and Apple as well. It was recorded at the Audio Factory in Glastonbury, England, the same studio that produced the audiobook of The Bargain. I'll probably blog about this at greater length later, but I know some Word Wench regulars like audio, so I thought I'd mention it now. Plus,... Continue reading
Posted Aug 20, 2014 at Word Wenches
by Mary Jo We here at Word Wenches Central Command take words very seriously, but we tend to think more about the 19th century and earlier than about the 21st century. My Webster's Collegiate does a pretty good job of telling me when words came into general English usage, and that suffices for my writing. But we all had fun when Wench Susan told us about new words that the Oxford Dictionary has just decided to add to the canon. Being as how romance writers don't get out much <G>, most of us didn't know half the words. Some are... Continue reading
Posted Aug 19, 2014 at Word Wenches
by Mary Jo Rebecca Eaton has the all-time great English major job: as executive producer of Masterpiece Theater, now known simply as Masterpiece. I'd never heard of her, and her name has nothing to do with the fact that the heroine of my book River of Fire is named Rebecca Seaton. But when I heard that her memoir about her work, Making Masterpiece, , was coming out last fall, I immediately ordered it. Partly that was because I'm always interested in how stories are filmed (I wrote a novel around that subject), but more because Masterpiece Theater had such an... Continue reading
Posted Jul 31, 2014 at Word Wenches
by Mary Jo As Cara/Andrea said on Friday, sometime we Wenches go light in our posts, and this one is REALLY light! I don't even have a biscotti recipe to offer. <G> But in the spirit of the summer silly season, I present: RWA's national romance writers conference! It's next week in San Antonio, and it's surely the world's largest collection of romance writers on the hoof. The annual literacy signing is similarly large, with hundreds of writers signing and thousands of books donated by publishers for sale. (A pause for a public service announcement: If you're in the neighborhood,... Continue reading
Posted Jul 13, 2014 at Word Wenches
by Mary Jo I'm not a big fan of medieval romance. Too much violence, the position of women was not good, and the plumbing was seriously grim. But when I was working out my "subversion of the captivity fantasy" novel, I chose a medieval setting for Uncommon Vows because in a more civilized era, my hero would be considered psychotic. <G> In the 12th century, he was instead a powerful man who behaved within the parameters of his age. A lot of research was involved because I didn't know much about medieval living. I decided that I wanted to catch... Continue reading
Posted Jun 26, 2014 at Word Wenches
by Mary Jo For this month's Ask A Wench, I selected this question by Molly in Ohio from our blog topic file: "We all know that writers frequently pull from life experiences when creating their characters. Have any of you had a friend or family member recognize themself in one of your books or stories and call you out? :)" I had a strong suspicion what the consensus will be, but I thought it would be fun to hear what the various Wenches have to say. Starting with Jo Beverley: No, because I don't do it. It often feels that... Continue reading
Posted Jun 15, 2014 at Word Wenches
by Mary Jo A good convention is enhanced by having a dealer room, which sff cons have always known. Romantic Times conventions are going in the same delightful direction, which is how I came to meet Renee Huff, who had traveled down from Kansas to New Orleans to set up a jewelry booth. She had a range of styles, but of course I was drawn to the antique pieces. In particular, I was attracted to a lovely Victorian chain unlike any other I've ever seen. Renee explained that it was called a book chain because the links were shaped like... Continue reading
Posted Jun 10, 2014 at Word Wenches
I've always thought that Charles the I had it coming. *G* But I totally get the remodeling impulse. My house is about 30 years old and contemporary in style, but I've redone the master bath, the kitchen, added a screened porch, redone the closets in the master bedroom a couple of times, and if I could figure out a way to get more closet space, I'd do it. *G* Currently, the house is being repainted. A house really is a living, changing things!
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Happy birthday, Sparky! We've certainly all derived enormous pleasure from her antics. But the shrew wins the battle of wits this time. MJP, glad to be a Sparky auntie *G*
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by Mary Jo RWA has conferences for professional and aspiring writers. They are serious and often rather stressed as ambitious and sometimes desperate writers try to make headway. In contrast, the Romantic Times conferences are a great big rollicking party. <G> There are actually a lot of very good workshops at RT (I was on three panels), but it's first and foremost a conference for readers. The authors are there as bait, to see our friends, and to promo our books. A major reason I opted for this recent conference is because I love New Orleans. It's a great city... Continue reading
Posted May 25, 2014 at Word Wenches
One of the great blessings of the internet is the way it helps us find our tribe, whether it's writers, quilters, or Mideastern specialists. Not all Word Wenches have met each other face to face, and I'm not sure any of us have met our stalwart whipmistress, Sherrie, in person. The doesn't matter--we are still connected in our word wench community.
Toggle Commented May 17, 2014 on Getting by With a Little Help at Word Wenches
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by Mary Jo When I blogged about our cruise on the upper Amazon, , I threatened another blog about Lima, the capital city of Peru. I don't make idle threats. <G> But never fear, mostly I'm going to show pictures. I spent very little time there, just two overnights in a hotel, and a coach tour of city highlights the morning before we flew into Amazonia to catch our cruise boat, but Lima made a strong impression on me. Peru itself is a fascinating country, sharply divided into three distinct climate zones. The coastal area where Lima is located is... Continue reading
Posted May 8, 2014 at Word Wenches
by Mary Jo In the brave new world of indie publishing, there is always something new to try, and a new learning curve to growl about. <G> Having the endless curiosity characteristic of writers, I keep trying new things. I've already talked about audiobooks here, and that was a very interesting process in what I think is a rapidly growing area of publishing. Very business-like of me to give it a try. Now What? So naturally, what I'm talking about today isn't at all business-like. <G> I loved writing my young adult Dark Mirror series despite all the challenges. The... Continue reading
Posted Apr 24, 2014 at Word Wenches
by Mary Jo It's a wired, wired world! Communications have changed amazingly in a double handful of years. It started with e-mail as the "killer app" of the world wide web. Then wireless communications came in. Several years back, when Blackberries were state of the art, the satellites that carried them (I think that's what it was) went down, and a mighty howl of horror and anguish was heard from users across the land. These days, it's all about mobile devices--cell phones that are really tiny, incredibly powerful computers. For younger users, texting is the "killer app." Some kids send... Continue reading
Posted Apr 6, 2014 at Word Wenches
by Mary Jo At the end of every month, we do a What We're Reading blog, but now and then, we mix it up. Today is What We're Reading plus A Few of Our Favorite Things. So these are a few of our Favorite Things!: CARA/ANDREA: Today Mary Jo suggested we talk not only about favorite books we’ve recently read, but also other “favorites" that have caught our fancy. Now, I always have books to dish about, but last week I saw a wonderful art exhibit in NYC and wanted to share some thoughts it provoked. As a college undergrad,... Continue reading
Posted Mar 30, 2014 at Word Wenches
by Mary Jo TWO Word Wenches releases are due on April 1st! An abundance of good reading. I waved my hand first to claim an ARC for Anne's The Winter Bride. This second book of her Chance Sisters Quartet is another delight. (Abby's story, The Autumn Bride () was first in the series, and chosen by Library Journal as one of the Top Ten Romances of 2013. AND has just been listed as an RWA RITA finalist!) Early reviews are great. Romantic Times' Kathe Robin gave The Winter Bride a 4 1/2 star Top Pick, saying: "The Chance sisters are... Continue reading
Posted Mar 27, 2014 at Word Wenches