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MaryJoPutney
Author. Traveler. Cat lover. Introvert.
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by Mary Jo In a perfect world, every book would have a perfect harmony of story, title, and cover. Of course the world isn't perfect, even with a book named One Perfect Rose. It's often difficult to recall how I've come up with a story, but I actually remember the origin of the plot for OPR. I had been writing my Fallen Angels series, which was built around four men who had attended Eton and became close as brothers because they all needed a family. Other friends appeared so the series got longer as more intriguing men appeared on the... Continue reading
Posted Oct 18, 2018 at Word Wenches
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by Mary Jo I've got an old mule and her name is Sal, Fifteen years on the Erie Canal! She's a good old worker and a good old pal, Fifteen years on the Erie Canal! We've hauled some barges in our day, Filled with lumber, coal, and hay, And every inch of the way I (we) know, From Albany to Buffalo! Did you grow up singing this Erie Canal work song, usually known as "Low Bridge?" Or do I know it because the Erie Canal was a part of my childhood? I grew up in Western New York in the... Continue reading
Posted Sep 30, 2018 at Word Wenches
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by Mary Jo This is definitely my year for islands! In July, I visited Orkney and Shetland , and now we're back from a shorter, more low key New England cruise. (I took the picture above on Block Island.) We were traveling on American Cruise Lines, a small ship cruising company that specializes in American waters, from the coast of New England to Southern rivers, the Mississippi, the Pacific Northwest, and Alaska. We've cruised on ACL once before, traveling from Baltimore to Charleston, SC on the IntraCoastal Waterway, and we had a fine time. Our ship, the American Star, held... Continue reading
Posted Sep 16, 2018 at Word Wenches
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Pat, you got Edinburgh, we got Ireland--and never enough time for either of us! It's been a long time since I visited Edinburgh; it's surely time I visited again!
Toggle Commented Aug 29, 2018 on Visiting Edinburgh at Word Wenches
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Faith, I hope you get to visit some day! It's a rare, special place.
Toggle Commented Aug 27, 2018 on Northern Isles: Shetland at Word Wenches
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Sue, on our flight out of Shetland on our way to Dublin, we got fogged out and missed our connection, along with an American woman (a retired teacher from the NYC area)who had just spent a week in Shetland in a knitting class, including indulging in amazing local wools. She didn't want to leave.
Toggle Commented Aug 27, 2018 on Northern Isles: Shetland at Word Wenches
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by Mary Jo I've already blogged about the RNA conference in Leeds and our wonderful visit to Orkney. Now it's time for the last chapter of our journey: Shetland, the island group that is the farthest northern reach of the archipelago that is Great Britain. The islands are due west of Norway, and the ties between Norway and Shetland are ancient and deep. Shetland has over 100 islands, about 15 of which are inhabited. Like Orkney, Shetland was never a Celtic land, and the ancient language was Norn, which influences the present day dialect. Our fine driver/guide, Grant Redfern, said... Continue reading
Posted Aug 26, 2018 at Word Wenches
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By Mary Jo After the fun of the RNA conference, it was time for the tourist part of this trip, which meant flying to the far north of the UK: Orkney and even farther north, Shetland. Fellow Wench Pat Rice and I flew to Orkney from Manchester with our husbands The Mayhem Consultant (mine) and The IT Guy (Pat's.) The islands have been settled for at least 8500 years, first by various Neolithic groups, then by Norsemen in the 9th century CE. The Norwegian king pledged Orkney and Shetland as a temporary dowry for his daughter, Margaret of Denmark, but... Continue reading
Posted Aug 9, 2018 at Word Wenches
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by Mary Jo I love writers' conferences, and I've been to my share of them. The sight of so many introverts blossoming into temporary extroversion is delightful. Creativity and connections and chocolate are all much in evidence. I've met many of my best writer friends (and most of the Wenches) at writers' conferences. Which is why when Wench Nicola, currently president of the British professional romance writers' group, Romantic Novelists' Association, invited all interested Word Wenches to come to this year's annual RNA conference in Leeds, I jumped on it. (No, of course this had nothing to do with the... Continue reading
Posted Aug 5, 2018 at Word Wenches
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by Mary Jo Most countries of the world have national days that celebrate their identity. That usually usually means the day that independence was proclaimed, as in the US, or negotiated, as was the case in many countries that had been colonized like much of Africa. But there can be lots of variations. Hungary, for example, celebrates St. Stephen's Day. The United Kingdom doesn't exactly have a national day, though sometimes the Queen's Official Birthday the second weekend in June is treated as such. (Her birthday is actually April 21st, but the weather is better for speeches and parades in... Continue reading
Posted Jul 3, 2018 at Word Wenches
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Katja, Kerry Greenwood is author of the Phryne Fisher and Corinna Chapman books, and Anne Gracie has interviewed her on Word Wenches. I ADORE the Corinna Chapman books and hope she writes more. She and her friends and cats and lover are so wonderful. I'm fine with animals being part of the story, so maybe I should try Mrs. Murphy. *G* (I have three cats lounging about my office even as I type.)
Toggle Commented Jun 21, 2018 on Cozy Criminal Ladies at Word Wenches
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Cynthia, I've read both Barbara Cleverly and Captain Lacey, and both are excellent writers, but cozy they're not. I have to be in the right mood for the more intense mysteries. I'm another Josephine Tey fan: THE DAUGHTER OF TIME, yes!
Toggle Commented Jun 21, 2018 on Cozy Criminal Ladies at Word Wenches
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Anne, there is so often a disconnect between book and film. Understandable since they're such different forms, but one usually won't love both equally.
Toggle Commented Jun 21, 2018 on Cozy Criminal Ladies at Word Wenches
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by Mary Jo I'm not a major mystery reader. I'm not especially interested in puzzle solving, I want interesting, likable characters, and wit is always good. I absolutely do NOT want gory stories and high body counts. In short, I tend to like cozy mysteries if they're well written and have good characters. So every now and then I go on a cozy mystery binge with some of my favorite authors, so I thought I'd chat a bit about what I've been reading. Mrs. Pollifax The oldest series is Dorothy Gilman's Mrs. Pollifax books, which started in the '70s and... Continue reading
Posted Jun 19, 2018 at Word Wenches
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by Mary Jo Apart from a vague recollection of the British protectorate called Bechuanaland becoming the independent nation of Botswana, the country never registered with me until I read the first #1 Ladies Detective Agency book by Alexander McCall Smith. The protagonist, Precious Ramotse, is a mature, "traditionally built" woman with a lot of common sense who solves small mysteries through her understanding of human nature. The series is now up to 18 books. More recently, Botswana has been mentioned in connection with Prince Harry of Wales , who loves the place, and reportedly it was where he and Meghan... Continue reading
Posted Jun 3, 2018 at Word Wenches
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Happy Anniversary to the Word Wenches! by Mary Jo This is the 12th anniversary of the Word Wenches! I hope you joined Anne's celebration tea party on Monday. (The cakes and tea cups were splendid!) Today, we continue the celebrations with reminiscences and book giveaways. 12 years is a long time, and in the way publishing has changed, it's eons. Back in 2006, blogs were the Hot New Thing. Authors wanted to be able to reach readers, interact with them, and sell books. But it seemed like so much work! Surely better to put together a group and take turns?... Continue reading
Posted May 22, 2018 at Word Wenches
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Andrea Penrose discusses Smoke & Lies with Mary Jo: MJP: Sister Word Wench Andrea and I go way back to when we both wrote Signet Regencies. In recent years, Andrea has used her love of the Regency, science, and art to become Andrea Penrose, historical mystery writer. Her new Regency Wrexford & Sloane series is making a splash, with starred reviews and excitement all around. But I'm delighted that she's also continuing her Lady Arianna mystery series. The first three books were traditionally published, and now that she's retrieved the rights, Andrea has repackaged and republished them in e-book form... Continue reading
Posted May 13, 2018 at Word Wenches
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by Mary Jo I've been musing about a blog on redheads for some time. Red hair occurs naturally in about 1 - 2% of people, though those with northern or western European genes run higher, 2 - 6%. (Maybe higher yet among those of Celtic heritage.) Definitely a minority, but one that gets more buzz than other hair colors! The red hair category covers a wide range of hues from dark auburn to strawberry blond and includes copper and carrot orange and usually comes with fair skin, light colored eyes, and a tendency to freckle. As Wikipedia says, "Cultural reactions... Continue reading
Posted Apr 26, 2018 at Word Wenches
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by Mary Jo Once upon a time, in that distant day before the internet and .jpg files and indie ebook publishing, receiving your cover from your publisher was a very big deal. You opened the envelope breathlessly, then studied the cover flat with joy, horror, or something in between. You flashed your cover proudly at conferences if you liked it, or moaned and asked for commiseration if you didn't. The original cover of Uncommon Vows is not a favorite of mine. It was fairly eye catching, I like the colors, and it fulfilled the basic requirement of getting hair colors... Continue reading
Posted Apr 8, 2018 at Word Wenches
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by Mary Jo Today I have the pleasure of interviewing sister Word Wench Anne Gracie about the April release of Marry in Scandal, the delightful second entry in her Marriage of Convenience series. Before I proceed to asking Anne about her book, let me mention that the first book in the series, Marry in Haste, has received these nominations from the Australian Romance Readers Association (ARRA): Favourite Historical Romance. Favourite Continuing Romance Series. Strongest Heroine from a romance published in 2017. Favourite Couple from a romance published in 2017. (Not to mention that Anne was nominated for the Favourite Australian... Continue reading
Posted Apr 1, 2018 at Word Wenches
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Shannon, congratulations on getting your contract extended! As you say, the UK is a wonderful place to bloom even if you don't take up permanent root. Maybe you're not designed to put down permanent roots--not everyone is. Enjoying each place you land is a pretty good trait! Maybe so many of us mention where we spent our early years is because the location imprinted on us because it was the first place where we came alive to the world?
Toggle Commented Mar 17, 2018 on The Home of the Heart at Word Wenches
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By Mary Jo A couple of weeks ago the Wenches got to chatting behind the scenes about what places feel like home, and the answers were interesting. In some cases, home is where we were born and raised even if we're not there anymore. In other cases, it's a place one has moved to and then claimed for oneself. It could be a place you've never lived. Here's what the Wenches have to say: Andrea/Cara: I must not be very adventurous at heart, for I’ve lived in New England all my life. (There were a number of years in New... Continue reading
Posted Mar 15, 2018 at Word Wenches
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From Mary Jo: This is just a quick weather muse on March's famously--and justly so!--fickle weather. Here in Maryland we just had what might (or might not) be the last snow of this winter. We didn't get slammed--it was just white, wet snow of the very pretty kind: So we were lucky. The snow was pretty, messy, and because the ground has started to warm, the roads were safe. But March is lambs as well as lions! Here are the first croci reaching for the sun! So how do you feel about this month known for change? Do you like... Continue reading
Posted Mar 10, 2018 at Word Wenches
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Kareni, pith helmets are light--but water bottles can get heavy. Maybe we can work something out. *G*
Toggle Commented Feb 27, 2018 on New Southern Seas at Word Wenches
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Sue, that canal slant to the northwest is a definite surprise! I got a kick out of the Conch Nation story, too. Key West has stories running in its blood, I think!
Toggle Commented Feb 26, 2018 on New Southern Seas at Word Wenches
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