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MaryJoPutney
Author. Traveler. Cat lover. Introvert.
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by Mary Jo All of the destinations on this cruise were interesting, but I particularly wanted to see Greece and Turkey, and I was not disappointed! Corfu: Our first Greek port was the island of Corfu, which is the extreme northwestern corner of Greece with Albania easily visible across a narrow sea. (It's also the setting for the Mary Stewart novel This Rough Magic.) The island has an abundance of history and has been under many rulers, including the Venetian Empire and the Ottomans. (The same is true of the rest of Greece.) Our Viking cruise had numerous excursions options,... Continue reading
Posted Jun 5, 2022 at Word Wenches
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Adriatic Shores By Mary Jo I've written about the first part of our Italy to Istanbul cruise, and now it's time for part two, visiting countries on the eastern coast of the Adriatic Sea. Croatia First up was Croatia, a beautiful country with mountains and a long stretch of sea coast. Dubrovnik is perhaps its best known city, and it's spectacular. We visited several years ago so instead of touring the city, we visited places in the country. Above is a view of Dubrovnik from a road above the town. You can see the round shape, the walled city, and... Continue reading
Posted May 22, 2022 at Word Wenches
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Cruising 2022: Northern Italian Lakes by Mary Jo With the pandemic fading, the world has opened up again and the Wenches are now traveling! Pat Rice has written about Italy and her Southeastern coastal, while Christina has just posted about her recent visit to Roman sites in Italy. Now it's my turn. We're just back from a two week cruise on Viking Ocean that we'd booked in 2019. You know why it was delayed! But it was an itinerary worth waiting for. Venice to Istanbul, plus we'd booked a pre-cruise extension in Northern Italy at the famous lakes that lie... Continue reading
Posted May 10, 2022 at Word Wenches
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May Day, May Day! By Mary Jo A recent Wench blog by Christina had us describing our personal Easter customs and memories, which I much enjoyed, though I didn't have much to contribute. (I forgot to mention that we dye Easter eggs. And then devil and eat them. <G>) But it got me to thinking about a little custom that I hadn't thought about in literally decades: my older sister and I making little paper cones, putting in a few flowers, generally daffodils since not much else was blooming then in Upstate New York, and taking them around to the... Continue reading
Posted Apr 17, 2022 at Word Wenches
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Random thoughts about dogs By Mary Jo Anyone who knows me or has read my books probably knows I'm a cat person, but that doesn't mean I can't appreciate the wonderfulness of dogs. Many of my friends have great dogs and I always love hearing their canine stories. We had lots of cats on the farm when I was a kid, but only one dog: a friendly family basset hound called Bootsy. (The picture on the left isn't Bootsy, but the look is very similar.) The name basset is French and derives from the word bas, meaning low, so they... Continue reading
Posted Mar 31, 2022 at Word Wenches
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by Mary Jo In complicated times, we need our comfort foods! What foods and drinks do you reach for when you need soothing? Nicola is first: I’ve been a comfort eater ever since I was a teen and over the last couple of years my eating did rather spiral out of control as a result of all the stresses in the world, macro-sized ones and personal challenges. One bag of crisps became an entire family sized bag I had to myself and the same went for chocolate. When I realised that I needed an entirely new set of clothes to... Continue reading
Posted Mar 13, 2022 at Word Wenches
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Evolution of a Cover by Mary Jo Publishing is all kinds of complicated, so I decided to look at one small piece, which is the story behind my new cover for The China Bride. The second of my Bride trilogy, the book features Troth Montgomery, daughter of a Chinese woman and a Scottish trader. She's a great character, strong and brave and vulnerable from having been raised between two worlds. I knew that writing her story would be a challenge because I'm a farm girl from Western New York but my mother had lived in China as a girl, and... Continue reading
Posted Mar 3, 2022 at Word Wenches
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By Mary Jo More than you ever wanted to know about writing short fiction! I became hooked on books as soon as I learned how to read, so it's no surprise that when I got a computer, learned word processing, and decided to see if I could write, what I dived into was a book: a full length Regency romance, The Diabolical Baron. Clearly my natural instinct was to write long. My Signet Regencies were supposed to be 75,000 words, but two of my first four drafted at about 125,000 words. Ooops! Nonetheless, when I was invited to write a... Continue reading
Posted Feb 17, 2022 at Word Wenches
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by Mary Jo 'Tis the Year of the Tiger at the White House as the Bidens have adopted an elegant gray tiger cat named Willow after Jill Biden's home town of Willow Grove. As anyone who has read my books can guess, I'm a serious cat lover, and I was much taken by the story of how this little gray girl interrupted Dr. Jill during a stump speech in a barn in Pennsylvania during the 2020 presidential campaign. Apparently the two of them bonded immediately and Willow has been fostered since then, waiting for the right time to join the... Continue reading
Posted Feb 3, 2022 at Word Wenches
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Bad in Bed Beds are important in romances. This is particularly true of sexy romances, where getting someone into bed is a euphemism for having sex. Certainly beds are a lot more comfortable for intimate activities than prickly bushes or sandy beaches or swinging from chandeliers. (That last must require the skills of an acrobat!) Even in sweet romances, sharing a bed is a symbol of marriage and partnership. All true and important. But what happens when the excitement is over and actual sleeping is attempted? Sharing a bed can be very complicated. Partners who snore or who flop around... Continue reading
Posted Jan 20, 2022 at Word Wenches
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by Mary Jo This is the last of the Word Wench Christmastide posts, which celebrate the time between Christmas and Epiphany, so I decided to research the holiday a bit more. It might be celebrated on either January 5th or January 6th, depending on whether Christmas Day is counted as the first day, or Boxing Day, the 26th, is the first. In some parts of the world it's called the Feast of the Three Kings because the holiday celebrates the arrival of the Three Kings or Three Wise Men as they followed the star to Bethlehem to celebrate the arrival... Continue reading
Posted Jan 4, 2022 at Word Wenches
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by Mary Jo Every year, the Mt. Adams neighborhood in Cincinnati hosts their annual Reindog parade, in which dogs are dressed in their holiday best. There's no fee for participating, but donations are gratefully accepted. And every year, my animal loving and cat rescuing friend Laura Resnick attends with friends of hers, and sends me pictures because I love seeing them! Some dogs clearly love the attention. Others look pretty--hangdog, if you'll excuse the expression. <G> Prizes are given in different categories. on the left is the winner of the under 25 pound category. Much as I love cats, I... Continue reading
Posted Dec 29, 2021 at Word Wenches
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By Mary Jo Moving to a new area means discovering new things. When I moved to Maryland, among the new things I discovered were sauerkraut for Thanksgiving, and train gardens. Train gardens, you ask? These are elaborate miniature landscapes with electric trains created at Christmastime, most often in firehouses. They are charming and great fun, and apparently, like sauerkraut, they have German ancestry. The custom has been traced to 18th century Moravian settlers in the Lehigh Valley of Eastern Pennsylvania. Christmas trees came from Germany, and apparently in some German areas it was customary to build a little village around... Continue reading
Posted Dec 23, 2021 at Word Wenches
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by Mary Jo The original Christmas story is of the journey to Bethlehem and the newborn infant who was laid in a manger, and the holiday has been inspiring Christmas stories ever since. They are stories of warmth, family, and love, of kindness and reconciliation. One of the most famous is the poem "'Twas The Night Before Christmas" written in 1823 by Clement Clark Moore. The depictions of Santa Claus, the chimney, and the sleigh pulled by reindeer have helped shape the imagery of American Christmases ever after. Another famous tale is Charles Dickens' 1843 novella, "A Christmas Carol" which... Continue reading
Posted Dec 9, 2021 at Word Wenches
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by Mary Jo Thanksgiving is a justly popular holiday because it involves family, friends, food, and no need to shop for presents. <G> As you probably know, the holiday is a form of harvest festival so the origins are lost in the mists of time. The difference between a good harvest or a bad one was literally life or death, so it made great sense to celebrate the bounty of the earth. I love Thanksgiving because it's secular and can be--and is!--celebrated by everyone, of all religious and ethnicities. It's a time for families, but also for inviting friends, particularly... Continue reading
Posted Nov 25, 2021 at Word Wenches
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Sunshine for Christmas By Mary Jo It's Christmas novella season and I'm celebrating by releasing a freestanding e-edition of this story plus an audio version. Not that Sunshine for Christmas is a new story. It's one of five novellas included in my Christmas Revels collection, so if you have a copy of Christmas Revels, there's no need to buy a separate e-edition of Sunshine for Christmas. But it was the very first novella I ever wrote and I started it with some wariness because I'd never written at this length before. (Most novellas are in the 20K-25K range, though they... Continue reading
Posted Nov 11, 2021 at Word Wenches
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Anne here, and today I'm interviewing Mary Jo about ONCE A LAIRD, her final book in the "Rogues Redeemed" series, which was based around five men held captive in a cellar in wartime, facing execution as spies in the morning. Of course they escaped and lived to tell some wonderful tales. (Ramsay was using the name Chantry at that time for various sneaky reasons.) Once a Laird is about Ramsay, who made the biggest impression on me in Once a Scoundrel, where he was instrumental in freeing three ladies from a harem in Constantinople after they'd been taken hostage by... Continue reading
Posted Oct 26, 2021 at Word Wenches
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Cruising the Ohio River by Mary Jo September was cruise time! As with our April cruise of the Chesapeake Bay, we an American Cruise Lines small ship cruise. Since ACL cruises only in American waters, it was much easier and less likely to be canceled than flying to Europe at a time when border restrictions are constantly changing. We decided on a cruise of the Ohio River, starting from Pittsburgh and ending in St. Louis. It would be simple to get to and from, and more important, it was a part of the US that we didn't know well, and... Continue reading
Posted Oct 17, 2021 at Word Wenches
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by Mary Jo Today's topic was inspired by a back room chat among the Wenches in which we extolled the delights of autumn: crisp air, vibrant colors, the recharging of energy after summer languor. Several Wenches said they'd like it to be autumn all year round. But do we really want that? So I asked: What are your favorite seasons? Are there any you'd like to see all year round? Pat Rice: I moved to California for a reason—I cannot function without sunlight, and I freeze at any temperature below 75. I’ve always adored spring in the south with daffodils... Continue reading
Posted Oct 14, 2021 at Word Wenches
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by Anne Gracie Anne here, interviewing Mary Jo Putney about her delicious new Christmas story, which came out last week. A Yuletide Kiss, an anthology written with Madeline Hunter and Sabrina Jeffries, brings together three couples caught out by a snowstorm and stuck at the White Rose Inn in the days leading up to Christmas. Anne: Mary Jo, you've written linked stories before with other authors — The Last Chance Christmas Ball comes to mind — but this was only with two other authors, instead of eight. How did you work to make the stories intersect? Were there any difficulties?... Continue reading
Posted Oct 5, 2021 at Word Wenches
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Farewell Blues: An Interview with Maggie Robinson By Mary Jo MJP: I'm delighted to welcome Maggie Robinson here today. She started out in historical romance and is now writing historical mysteries. She's here to discuss her recent release, Farewell Blues, fourth and last of her historical mystery Lady Adelaide series. Maggie, I've been enthralled by this series ever since you first told me the premise for book one, Nobody's Sweetheart Now. Will you explain the setup of the series? And tell us about the men in Addie's life! MR: I’m delighted to be here! Ah, the set up. It sounds…a... Continue reading
Posted Sep 30, 2021 at Word Wenches
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by Mary Jo (aka M. J. Putney) DARK DESTINY, the third and final book in my Young Adult time travel trilogy, was released yesterday! I'm so happy that this series is now available. I really enjoyed writing about these valiant young people learning to manage their unnerving talents and growing together as they fulfill their vows to aid their country in time of war. As I've said before, I've always been intrigued by the parallels between the Napoleonic wars and World War II because both times Britain stood alone against a Continental tyrant, protected only by the narrow strip of... Continue reading
Posted Sep 23, 2021 at Word Wenches
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Collected by Mary Jo Christina Courtenay Contributes: Following a Wench recommendation, I have spent this month immersed in the world of the Brooklyn Bruisers, a series by Sarina Bowen. Starting with Rookie Move, it follows the members of a new ice hockey team based in Brooklyn, each of whom falls in love in spectacular fashion. As a huge fan of ice hockey, I’ve really enjoyed this series and am now working my way through various spin-offs as well. I’ll probably also read all the other books by this author as soon as I can. Rookie Move features Leo, a player... Continue reading
Posted Aug 29, 2021 at Word Wenches
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Dark Passage: The Lackland Abbey Chronicles: The Second Adventure by Mary Jo While I've always written romance focused on one couple, but with connecting characters around them, this young adult series is different because it's about a small group of young people moving together through their world. The heart and soul of the stories, is Tory--sixteen year old Lady Victoria Mansfield. In Book 1, Dark Mirror, she was exiled to Lackland Abbey to be "cured" of her magic. There she makes friends both at the Abbey and in WWII England, where all the young mages worked together to help save... Continue reading
Posted Aug 26, 2021 at Word Wenches
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Dark Mirror Returns! by Mary Jo Authors cherish our books because we love them, since it takes love to keep working when a story turns feral. But all is forgiven when the book is finished and alive. This is why I'm so pleased to be reissuing my Dark Mirror Young Adult trilogy with a terrific new set of covers designed by the amazing Kim Killion. (I liked the original cover as well, which is below, but the new ones are more dynamic.) The series was partially inspired by the parallels between the Napoleonic and World War. In both eras, Britain... Continue reading
Posted Aug 1, 2021 at Word Wenches
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