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Author. Traveler. Cat lover. Introvert.
Recent Activity
by Mary Jo Once again I'm madly busy, having finished going over a copy edit of Once a Laird this evening and in the middle of writing an overdue Christmas novella. So as I look out at snow and ice, I decided to post a 2011 blog of the warm and sunny Caribbean. Most of the world has been deprived of travel this last year, but that's starting to change. Here are some islands to dream on! Caribbean! Just the name evokes heat and mystery and beauty and treasure. There’s a reason why the Disney movie trilogy wasn’t Pirates of... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Word Wenches
By Mary Jo Book covers are an enduring subject of interest and debate for both authors and readers. Receiving one's first book cover is a moment of high anticipation. Is the cover attractive? Does it accurately represent the type of book it is? Do the models look anything like the characters within the covers? Does the heroine have three arms? (Yes, that happened, and no one noticed until the book came out. <G>) I've had some very good covers in my time, some that were mediocre, a few that made me cringe. One of the great joys of indie publishing... Continue reading
Posted Feb 7, 2021 at Word Wenches
by Mary Jo Here is the monthly round up of books Word Wenches have enjoyed recently. I hope you find some new reads you'd enjoy! Pat Rice here: Rainy Day Sisters by Kate Hewitt is women’s fiction of the philosophical, emotional sort, except a lot more original than most. There’s a couple of up-and-down romances to keep the stakes high, but the real focus is on the development of a relationship between half-sisters who barely know each other. The younger grew up in the US, the older in the UK, and their only common ground really is their fury at... Continue reading
Posted Jan 28, 2021 at Word Wenches
by Mary Jo I'm madly trying to finish this year's book, Once a Laird, so I'm invoking Wenchly Privilege to rerun an older post. Since currently travel isn't happening, I thought it would be fun to go with one of my earlier travel posts, and cruising on the Amazon seems delightfully distant and exotic. So here we go! (The colorful straw frogs to the right were centerpieces on the dining room tables.) These days when we talk about Amazon, we're probably referring to the mega-selling online site, but after visiting the real Amazon, it was easy to understand why Jeff... Continue reading
Posted Jan 21, 2021 at Word Wenches
Turkducken? By Mary Jo For today's Christmastide post, we'll discuss turducken .Yankee that I am, I had never heard of this dish until I moved to Maryland, which is south of the Mason Dixon line, though barely. I vaguely thought it was an old traditional dish from Maryland's Eastern Shore and was popular around the holidays. It consists of a deboned chicken stuffed into a deboned duck stuffed into a mostly deboned turkey. (Wings and legs kept their bones for aesthetic reasons, I presume.) There is also bread or sausage dressing. In other words, it's one heck of a lot... Continue reading
Posted Jan 1, 2021 at Word Wenches
Christmastide: The Cats' Christmas by Mary Jo This is second in the Word Wenches' annual tradition of short posts for Christmastide, the days between Christmas and Twelfth Night on January 6th. I don't usually get presents for my cats since they're royally pampered every day. But this year I decided to get a tall, very stable scratching post. I opened it up, attached the base, and rubbed catnip into the sisal. And furry fun was had! Spook, the solemn white and gray part Siamese cat who has never shown the least inclination to play, had fun with it, delighting in... Continue reading
Posted Dec 25, 2020 at Word Wenches
by Mary Jo Today's topic was inspired by a question from Word Wench reader Kay Spears, who asks: One of my allllll time favorite romances is/was Mary Jo Putney's The Rake and the Reformer aka The Rake. I love Reginald Davenport...he turned out to be quite a hero. My question for all wenches: How do you take a drunk/ licentious/ corrupt/ not-hero-material man and redeem him? And, when you're writing this character, do you recognize him as hero material? Or, does it come as a surprise when readers start wanting him as a hero? MJP: I immediately grabbed this topic... Continue reading
Posted Dec 8, 2020 at Word Wenches
By Mary Jo Thanksgiving has long been my favorite holiday because of the warmth of friends and family gathering together around my table. People fill my kitchen, good naturedly dodging each other, cats lurk in hope of a bit of turkey, and there's a bounty of goodwill. That's not happening this year because of the pandemic. 2020 is a lost year in so many ways. So many events, so many gatherings, so many concerts and vacations, have been cancelled. To the left is my country oak table, bought from a consignment shop. It has about five different leaves that can... Continue reading
Posted Nov 26, 2020 at Word Wenches
Moments of Joy By Mary Jo This has been a difficult year just about everywhere. A highly contagious virus, a lockdown, massive economic disruptions--I'm told that time travelers are being told to skip 2020 as they travel through time! Yet people are adaptable, and even in dark times, we can find moments of happiness, some of which are actually a result of the lockdown. Perhaps something that was once routine is now noteworthy, or we're finding that spending so much time at home is providing unexpected benefits. The Wenches share some such moments. For me, one such event was something... Continue reading
Posted Nov 15, 2020 at Word Wenches
by Mary Jo I'm getting into Deep Writing Mode to try to finish the current book, which is waaaay behind. So instead of writing a new blog, I decided to exercise Wench privilege by pulling out an old blog and buffing it up. This blog dates back to the earliest days of the Word Wenches and was inspired by a regular reader who asked me when I knew I was meant to be a writer and suggested that it was a question worth blogging. I agreed that the question is an intriguing one, but I’ll bet that others have a... Continue reading
Posted Oct 18, 2020 at Word Wenches
by Mary Jo I've promised that audiobooks of my Silk Trilogy were on the way, and now the first, Silk and Shadows, is available with Silk and Secrets and Veils of Silk on the way. Once more the wonderful Siobhan Waring is the narrator, as she has been for all my audio releases for more than a year. I think of Silk and Shadows as my Count of Monte Cristo story. The first sentence of the book is, "He called himself Peregrine, the Wanderer, and he came to London for revenge." Here's the blurb: Like the falcon he named himself... Continue reading
Posted Sep 10, 2020 at Word Wenches
By Mary Jo In a summer where most of us have not been getting out as much as usual, I decided it would be fun to dig out older movies we've enjoyed watching on Saturday nights. In the nature of things, many have had historical setting because, not surprisingly I like historical movies. (Most of what we've seen has been DVDs, which I consider a more reliable technology than streaming, which is fine when it works--until it doesn't.) So the first we watched was The Scarlet Pimpernel, a great romantic adventure story. It's been filmed several times, but the version... Continue reading
Posted Aug 27, 2020 at Word Wenches
by Mary Jo I've just released Carousel of Hearts , the second in my Putney's Classics series. Carousel was published as a sweet Signet Regency and is one of my three early books that really couldn't be revised into historical romance because the tone is light and the sensuality is muted. The story has four main characters and there is much love and much confusion. Here's the blurb: Love is in the air, but where is Cupid aiming his darts? Spirited and beautiful, Antonia Thornton is a baroness in her own right and her companion and best friend is Judith... Continue reading
Posted Aug 11, 2020 at Word Wenches
by Mary Jo I'm happy to welcome Maggie Robinson back to the Word Wenches! Today's blog is not a suggested mental exercise, but the title of her new book, Just Make Believe, third in her delightful Lady Adelaide historical mystery series. I've been hooked since she mentioned the first Lady Adelaide story to me: Nobody's Sweetheart Now. Set in the 1920s, the series features Lady Adelaide, the wealthy widow of a philandering war hero, a handsome Detective Inspector who is a half Indian--and Rupert, ghost of Addie's late husband who is trying to work his way into heaven by doing... Continue reading
Posted Jul 19, 2020 at Word Wenches
Christina, what a FABULOUS house and blog! I'd love to visit. To bad it's not a hotel where we could hold a Wench Retreat. *G*
Toggle Commented Jul 6, 2020 on Inspirational Grandeur at Word Wenches
1 reply
by Mary Jo This blog is a revision of one I wrote after watching the presidential inauguration in January 2009. More about that later, but what got me thinking about anthems was an issue that is very much in play in Maryland, namely, a movement to toss out the current state song, "Maryland, My Maryland." Now this is not a subject I've thought about much . I'm more interested in the official Maryland cake, the multilayer Smith Island Cake cake, which is tasty and decadent. Or the Maryland state cat, which shares the orange, black, and white colors of the... Continue reading
Posted Jul 2, 2020 at Word Wenches
The Return of The Diabolical Baron! by Mary Jo I've been slowly reissuing my older books digitally, and now the time has arrived to send my very first Signet Regency, The Diabolical Baron, back into the world. It's the first in my Putney Classics Series, which will include Carousel of Hearts and Lady of Fortune. Back when I was writing my Fallen Angels Series, my publisher asked me to revise several of my early Signet Regencies into historical romances. I was happy to do that with some of the stories that became Petals in the Storm, Angel Rogue, The Bargain,... Continue reading
Posted Jun 18, 2020 at Word Wenches
Three Good Things by Mary Jo This is a revised version of a blog I did way back in 2006, the first year of the Word Wenches. It's been a lot of years, but the same ideas are still worthwhile. I think the transitions seasons of spring and autumn are the loveliest of the year. In the northern hemisphere we have spring and lush richness of new life. In the southern hemisphere it's autumn, with the last nostalgic flare of beauty before sliding into winter. But now we're dealing with the challenges of a pandemic, and a lot of stress... Continue reading
Posted Jun 2, 2020 at Word Wenches
Interviewed by Mary Jo Marry in Scarlet, the long awaited final book in Anne Gracie's Marriage of Convenience Series, has arrived, and it's great. As Publishers Weekly says in its review, "George is an admirable heroine and the chemistry between her and Hart is magnetic." Lady Georgiana, the wild child niece of the Rutherford clan, has come to value the family she didn't know she had, but she still prefers to be called George and likes her giant wolfhound, Finn, and her magnificent stallion Sultan more than most humans. She also has no desire to lose her independence by marrying,... Continue reading
Posted May 26, 2020 at Word Wenches
Compiled by Mary Jo This year, we're holding a ball! Each Wench will bring one of her favorite heroes. (Not the favorite, because how can one choose just one from among so many fabulous men? <G>) I'm wearing the burgundy velvet gown I was married in, but I'm not the star of this occasion! That would be Lord Ross Carlisle, hero of one of my earlier books, Silk and Secrets, second in my Silk Trilogy. Though by nature he's rather reserved and scholarly, he's also deeply interested in all kinds of people and distant places. Which is why he became... Continue reading
Posted May 21, 2020 at Word Wenches
What a gorgeous post, Christina! I didn't realize how little I know about kimono. The examples you've show here are amazing, and it's interesting to read about the evolution of different types of garment. Pockets would be useful, though!
Toggle Commented May 11, 2020 on All Things Japanese at Word Wenches
1 reply
by Mary Jo Audiobooks, like so many elements of publishing (and the world in general) have changed greatly in recent years. Once upon a time, only huge bestselling mainstream books had audio editions. They were really expensive and libraries were the primary market. (In those days a lot of audiobooks were on cassettes! Remember them? <G>) But there was interest in audio, so gradually more genre books like romance began to be recorded. My first audiobook was The Wild Child, which came out in 1999. I was so excited--I felt that I had arrived! I don't know if at that... Continue reading
Posted May 5, 2020 at Word Wenches
by Mary Jo I've always been intrigued by spices, so much so that I wrote a blog about them years ago, and liked it so much that years later I posted it again while under deadline. <G> So naturally I read an article on black pepper when browsing an issue of Cook's Illustrated, a publication of America's Test Kitchen. Even though I learned a lot about cooking by working my way through recipes in Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking when I lived in England, I don't do a lot of cooking these days, but I do like... Continue reading
Posted Apr 23, 2020 at Word Wenches
Mary Jo I'm happy to announce the first ever digital release of my novella, The Dragon and the Dark Knight! I've written a number of novellas and shorter works because they're an enjoyable change of pace and give me the chance to go to new and different places. They can also be quirkier or more humorous than full length novels. In short--fun! The Dragon and the Dark Lord was originally published as a longish novella in the Dragon Lovers anthology with Jo Beverley, Barbara Samuel, Karen Harbaugh, and me. The four of us were friends and enjoyed working together, and... Continue reading
Posted Apr 7, 2020 at Word Wenches
by Mary Jo Audiobooks! Those of you who have been following me here know that I've had a slow but ongoing program to get more of my stories into audio format. The main reason is because a fair number of people really like audio books. They're great for those with commutes, or who want the distraction of stories while gardening or doing housework or other mundane tasks. They're also a real boon for those with vision problems. (My mother listened to a lot of audiobooks from the National Library of the Blind in her later years.) Audio Page: A new... Continue reading
Posted Mar 26, 2020 at Word Wenches