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Christina Courtenay
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Photo by Markus Bernet Christina here. In a few days it will be midsummer and as I’m going to be in Sweden then, I’ll be celebrating more than usual. Nordic summer nights are special and there’s nothing more special than midsummer – it’s a big deal in Sweden and should preferably be experienced in the countryside somewhere. People head out of the towns en masse in order to enjoy nature. Maybe because of the long, cold dark nights they have to put up with for half the year, they appreciate the light warm evenings of summer all the more. Summer... Continue reading
Posted Jun 19, 2022 at Word Wenches
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Christina here and today I’m going to revisit a subject I think we’ve talked about before – miniatures. I don’t know what it is about tiny things, but they are immensely appealing. Just because they are small, they are much cuter than anything on a larger scale. It’s as if we equate cuteness with size and the smaller something is, the better. There’s an article here explaining the science behind this obsession with miniatures. Basically, it seems to be connected to our instinct to look after anything small and helpless, like a baby. Or maybe we are just nostalgic for... Continue reading
Posted Jun 7, 2022 at Word Wenches
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We are delighted to announce the winners of the Word Wenches' 16th Anniversary giveaway contest – congratulations to the following:- Elaine F Tricia D Anne H Heidi G Jeanne B Denise M Diane S (If you haven’t already heard from us, you will be contacted shortly.) Huge thanks again to everyone who joined us for our celebration! Continue reading
Posted May 28, 2022 at Word Wenches
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Photo by Mark A Coleman Christina here and I'm delighted to tell you that this week it's THE WORD WENCHES’ 16th ANNIVERSARY! In order to celebrate properly, we decided to hold a picnic and you’re all invited! We're each bringing our favourite historical food to a lovely park somewhere in the UK – the precise location is a secret as it’s by invitation only, but you can reach it via this lovely temple folly which acts as a time portal. The setting – hills, woodland and parkland – is beautiful, with wildflowers, ancient trees and herds of deer that can... Continue reading
Posted May 24, 2022 at Word Wenches
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Christina here with Part 2 of my Italian adventures. Having visited Pompeii, of course I also had to go to Herculaneum. It’s a nearby town that was destroyed by the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD at the same time as Pompeii, and I’d been told that most people nowadays find it more impressive. This is because it is much better preserved, with a lot of the upper storeys of the houses still intact, and the paintings on the walls in situ. I’m afraid I have to disagree though. Don’t get me wrong – I loved Herculaneum too, it's a... Continue reading
Posted May 8, 2022 at Word Wenches
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Christina here and as I was lucky enough to go to Italy recently, it’s time for some more armchair travelling. I hope you’ll enjoy the journey as much as I did, albeit vicariously! I was a little girl the first time I heard about Pompeii and the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. This tragic event really stuck in my mind and ever since then, I’ve wanted to go there, but I never had the opportunity until two weeks ago when my dream finally came true. Sometimes, when you’ve wished for something for a very long time, it turns... Continue reading
Posted Apr 26, 2022 at Word Wenches
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Christina here with this month’s Ask A Wench. As it’s Good Friday today, I thought I would ask the Wenches what their favourite Easter tradition is, or whether they have any favourite Easter ornaments or decorations? Turns out they have quite a few of both! Pat: When I was a kid, hats were a big deal on Easter. I LOVE hats. I have difficult hair and hats covered a multitude of sins. I could make a statement with hats. Of course, as a kid, it was my mother’s statement, but hats were cool. These days, I wear hats anytime I... Continue reading
Posted Apr 14, 2022 at Word Wenches
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Christina here and today I’m going to talk about all things yellow because I seem to be surrounded by this colour at the moment! To me, it signifies spring, sunshine and Easter, among other things. And it’s a colour I’ve always associated with happiness – just looking at it makes you want to smile because it’s bright and beautiful! Now that the clocks have changed, and with spring finally having arrived here in the northern hemisphere, we can enjoy a lot more sunshine and the world feels like a brighter place. Although I’ve never been affected by SAD, and actually... Continue reading
Posted Apr 3, 2022 at Word Wenches
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Christina here with a roundup of what the Wenches have been reading this month. As usual, it’s a wonderful mixture and I hope you will find something to your taste. We start with Patricia who recommends Queen Bee by Dorothea Benton Frank:- I love women’s fiction that veers off the standard path, and Frank always accomplishes that. Holly Jensen is a 30-year-old substitute teacher and beekeeper still living with her mama in coastal SC. She’s seriously in love with the little boys next door and thinks their widowed father is mighty fine as well, even if he is ten years... Continue reading
Posted Mar 29, 2022 at Word Wenches
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Christina here. I’ve been mulling over ideas for a new story, and one of the things I’d like to add is an unusual pet. In the past, I’ve always given my heroes and heroines faithful canine companions, but this time I want something a little bit different. I’m considering a pet raven. As I write about Viking times, this seems appropriate, since the god Odin was said to have two ravens – Huginn (Old Norse for ‘thought’) and Muninn (Old Norse for ‘memory’). According to the sagas, this pair would fly across the world each day and then return to... Continue reading
Posted Mar 20, 2022 at Word Wenches
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“Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will.” Suzy Kassem “We learn from failure, not from success.” Bram Stoker Christina here. In an article last year in the UK’s Society of Authors’ magazine, Mick Conefrey mentioned ‘impostor syndrome’ (feeling like a fraud, despite having achieved success), which he called ‘the rat in his skull’. I absolutely loved this imagery/metaphor and could really relate! Mr Conefrey was talking about the fact that he’d written books about mountain climbing, even though he’s not a climber himself. For me, however, impostor syndrome is the fact that I can never quite believe I’m good... Continue reading
Posted Mar 6, 2022 at Word Wenches
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Christina here. Ever since I lived in Japan, I’ve been drawn to Japanese woodblock prints. They are both simple and beautiful, and the variety of subjects is endless. Mostly they depict nature and/or people and places, and one of the absolute masters of this art was Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849). I think most people are familiar with his most famous print known as The Great Wave, which was actually entitled Under the Wave off Kanagawa. I love how he managed to create such wonderful scenes with just a few brushstrokes and his prints really show the Japanese way of life as... Continue reading
Posted Feb 20, 2022 at Word Wenches
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Photo by Gage Skidmore Christina here. Authors are often asked if we’d like our books made into film or a TV series. (Anne discussed this in one of her posts here). Silly question – of course we would! We can spend hours imagining exactly which actor we’d like to play our heroes (Chris Hemsworth usually for me, in case you were wondering) or actresses for the leading lady role. But personally, I’d rather see some of my favourite books by other authors being turned into movies. There are so many that would make absolutely wonderful viewing! It's rare though that... Continue reading
Posted Feb 6, 2022 at Word Wenches
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Sneha Wikimedia Commons Christina here. I’m totally addicted to Happy-Ever-After endings and absolutely refuse to read books that end badly or even just so-so. I want the full-on fairy tale everyone-is-happy-and-get-what-they-deserve kind of ending in everything I read or write. That means I’m also the kind of reader who LOVES epilogues. I really like finding out that everything has turned out OK in the hero and heroine’s lives, and I enjoy knowing every little detail the author cares to add. But only in their immediate future – I don’t need to know what happens during the rest of their lives.... Continue reading
Posted Jan 23, 2022 at Word Wenches
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Christina here. During the Christmas holidays I’ve had a chance to relax a bit and do things I don’t normally have time for. One of them is to leaf through some of the many coffee table books I own – and I have to admit there are rather a lot of them! I’m not sure why I have so many. They’re not exactly necessary and yet seem to accrue of their own accord. Many of them are from exhibitions I’ve attended, especially those of my favourite artists, while others are on subjects close to my heart. I’m never quite sure... Continue reading
Posted Jan 9, 2022 at Word Wenches
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Christina here. Today is New Year’s Eve and we should all be having a party – champagne, canapés, a huge gathering of friends and lots of fun, music, dancing and laughter. Obviously, that won’t be the case this time and I’m guessing low-key celebrations will be the order of the day instead. Personally, I don’t mind. I’ve never really liked all the hype around this one day – the older I get, the faster it seems to come around and I’d rather not think about how it signifies the rapid passing of time! I just want to spend the evening... Continue reading
Posted Dec 30, 2021 at Word Wenches
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Christina here. I hope you’ll forgive me revisiting a topic Anne blogged about back in 2012 (here) because this is an exciting time of year for me – IT’S NEW DIARY TIME!!! That means I get to choose a brand new diary for next year and let me tell you, this is serious business. I’ve kept a diary on and off since I was eight years old. When I was given my first one, the appeal lay in having somewhere secret to write down my thoughts because of course it had a lock and tiny key. (I didn’t know that... Continue reading
Posted Dec 19, 2021 at Word Wenches
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Christina here. In just a few days, my new Viking time travel story TEMPTED BY THE RUNES will be published and it’s based on the first Viking settlement of Iceland in the 860s/870s AD. The Viking era is usually said to be roughly from 793 AD to 1066 AD, ie from the first Viking raid on the monastery at Lindisfarne to the Battle of Stamford Bridge when the last Viking king, Harald Hardraada, lost his bid for the English throne. When I first started writing this series, I knew I couldn’t cover all that time and I had to decide... Continue reading
Posted Dec 5, 2021 at Word Wenches
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Christina here. I’m still in Sweden and have been enjoying one of the things I miss the most about this country – the huge, deep forests. Sweden is fairly sparsely populated, and in the part where I grew up, most of the countryside is covered by woodland and thousands of lakes of various sizes. Going for nature walks or heading out to pick berries and mushrooms is a favourite pastime here and it’s something I used to do with my family as well. There is a law in this country called “Allemansrätten” which gives everyone the right to roam wherever... Continue reading
Posted Nov 21, 2021 at Word Wenches
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Christina here. There are certain places that feel timeless and really evoke the past, and stone circles, standing stones and cairns always have that effect on me. What is it about them that draws us in and has fascinated people for so long? Perhaps it’s the sheer mystery of the how and why? Because we can’t be sure exactly what they were used for, they make our imagination run riot. It’s easy to picture ceremonies honouring the sun, moon or stars, perhaps featuring druids in flowing white robes, chanting and dancing. Who knows if that ever actually happened, but it’s... Continue reading
Posted Nov 7, 2021 at Word Wenches
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Christina here. I have always found mirrors fascinating and I’m sure that’s been true for most people ever since the first caveman/woman happened to catch sight of him- or herself in a still pond or lake somewhere. Therefore, a recent TV programme I watched (Raiders of the Lost Past with Janina Ramirez on BBC2) about amazing archaeological finds in the 9,000-year old city of Çatalhöyük in Turkey, caught my attention. The presenter held up a mirror that was 7000 years old! It wasn’t what we would call a mirror really, but a piece of obsidian – rounded on one side... Continue reading
Posted Oct 24, 2021 at Word Wenches
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Christina here and once again I’m going to take you all armchair travelling! A couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to go to Norway on a research trip. My older daughter and I drove around the southern part of the country covering 1230 km in five days! Exhausting, but very rewarding. We began our trip in the capital, Oslo, a beautiful town situated next to the Oslo fjord. In the city centre old houses mixed with new, overlooked by the royal castle up on a hill at one end of the famous Karl Johan Gate (street). Everything was... Continue reading
Posted Oct 7, 2021 at Word Wenches
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Christina here and today it is my very great pleasure to welcome back Wench Emerita Susanna Kearsley to the blog to chat about her new novel, The Vanished Days, which will be published in the US on 5thOctober this year (and in the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand next spring). It is a prequel and companion novel to The Winter Sea, and partly overlaps with the action in that book. It goes back in time to the 1680s and introduces the reader to the Moray and Graeme families. I have had the honour of reading an ARC of this... Continue reading
Posted Sep 12, 2021 at Word Wenches
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Christina here. Lots of authors seem to listen to music while they write in order to get in the right mood – sometimes the same song over and over again to inspire a particular scene they might be working on. Many of them have specific playlists for each book with one song per chapter, which they mention either on their blogs or at the start of their books so that readers can listen along with them. I can’t do that. I need silence in order to compose my thoughts and disappear into my own little world, and music would drag... Continue reading
Posted Sep 2, 2021 at Word Wenches
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Christina here. Something I was doing recently made me think about the phrase ‘acting your age’ and I realised I don’t like it. Not one bit. Why should we have to act in a certain way just because we happen to have lived a particular number of years? Isn’t it up to us how we act? And age is just a number anyway – on the inside, I’m pretty sure we are all still much younger than our outside would suggest. Do we really need to lose that youthful enthusiasm entirely just because society’s norms dictate that it should be... Continue reading
Posted Aug 17, 2021 at Word Wenches
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