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The Wenches

  • Mary Jo Putney

  • Patricia Rice

  • Susan Fraser King

  • Anne Gracie

  • Nicola Cornick

  • Andrea Penrose

  • Christina Courtenay

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  • Jo Beverley
    Word Wench 2006-2016

  • Edith Layton
    Word Wench 2006-2009

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June 2023

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Wenches Statistics

  • Years published: 164

    Novels published: 231

    Novellas published: 74

    Range of story dates: nine centuries (1026-present)

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« In Praise of Labor Day | Main | Magic Man Contest »


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Why do people like entertainment? You tell me. As far as the Disney crowd, we're low level Disney, we have high level Disney friends and it's really nothing to do with childhood. I/we don't see it as childish things - but as entertainment. Why do people spend large amounts of money to go to bars and drink booze? Or collect wine? Or hit Club Med? Or wear Gucci? Because they find those things entertaining and / or beautiful. Disney has excellent food (if you eat without the five year old) and is a resort focused on entertaining you. Want a massage? A good golf game? A roller coaster? A film? Here you go.

Animation is an under appreciated art. It's okay to be in awe of a painting, in awe of a violent director's work, but to be in awe of something magical and tedious to execute? Why are fairies and princesses and slapstick the realm of romance? I mean, childhood? I'm always amazed when people don't understand the allure of Disney but join the country club or drive the Hummer or worry about having their cell phone on in case the boss calls. I live near the beach, my 40 year old spouse still takes 'surf days' we take our kids to Disney at the drop of a hat. My housekey has Donald on it because I too hate wearing pants and have a terrible temper but people love me anyway.


Just a quick note as I'm off to work (sigh). I "fell" for Disneyland pretty late (in my 40s) after a lifetime of ho-humming. Hard to say why--second childhood, maybe? Inner child? I think what sets Disneyland apart from other parks I've been to is the enormous effort they go to to make the visitor feel like Part Of The Story--each ride has a narrative, the characters roam and draw you into conversation, etc. Really, that's why I read, go to the movies, etc--maybe even why I am a minister and charged to communicate/make people feel part of a faith story. Don't you think that we all on some level long to feel like Part of the Story?
Thanks, off to work now!

Gina Black

I'm don't love Disney although I have fond memories of watching the mouseketeers and enjoying the TV show when I was a kid. I enjoyed some of the movies as did my kids.

But...I *love* Disneyland. I live in SoCal so I've had annual passes on several occasions and used them too. (They are absolutely the best way to go--instead of trying to cram in everything in one day it allows for many shorter visits over the period of a year.) Disneyland is absolutely what it advertises. It is the "happiest place on earth." Clean. Well run. Great rides. I do the Teacups and Pirates everytime I go. In the fall they turn the Haunted House into a "Nightmare before Christmas" themed ride. The best part about Disneyland is that it is artful.

One thing I would never do, though, is visit the place on Labor Day weekend or during the hot summer. I hope you got it in before the big crowds hit on the weekend. In fact, the best time to go is between October and March (except for the holidays). They are often refurbishing rides, but the lines are greatly decreased.

Nina P

Ah, Pat. I envy you your experience with your 5 yr old granddaughter. To see a child’s face dusted with wonderment and awe… My daughter is 11 now. She sees the world through hormone tainted eyes. All is dark and she lives in the great divide between the have’s and the have nots. There’s no room for fairy princesses in swirling ball gowns, knights on white horses or talking blue bears.

I’ve been to Disneyworld twice as an adult. For me, it’s like living in a dream. The streets are clean. The air is clear. Everyone is smiling and the songs never end. Of course, these are just outcomes of very savvy leadership and high business acumen. But the world is still there. I can touch it and it touches me. The world is there even when I am not, reminding me I have a dream. A dream to be published. To see the world touched by my work. Walt Disney had a similar dream. And standing in the middle of Main Street USA, the culmination of his blood, sweat and tears, reminds me that a dream is a whish your heart makes when you’re fast asleep. And if you keep on believing, and dreaming, the dream that you wish will come true.

Am I a Disney fan? No. Just a dreamer. And a believer.


How much fun you must have had at Disneyland, Pat!
As a child, the Disneyland junket was always the high point of the annual visit to my grandparents in CA. Because my grandmothers were enthusiastic and indulgent (as I imagine you are with your granddaughter), willing to wait in the endless lines to the rides and buying me all sorts of bad snacks and corny souveniers, it was a wonderful experience I've never forgotten.

But I separate Disneyland from Disney cartoons. I've never liked Disney cartoons, even as a child, avoiding Mickey and his ilk like the plague. There's a creepy misogny to a lot of Disney features -- it's Dumbo's mother that gets hauled off by the bad circus men, and Bambi's mother that the hunters shoot.

More recent movies aren't much better -- the Little Mermaid must give up the one thing she has that makes her special (her voice) to "fit in". Pocohontas trades her family's herigage for Captain John Smith, and so on. The super-baddies (Malificent in Sleeping Beauty and Ursula in the Little Mermaid) are all female, too. Don't know what Mother Disney did to poor little Walt, but whoa, must have been something bad!

And, of course, Disney cartoons have warped a whole generation of kids into thinking that Eyore is purple and Pooh is neon yellow, instead of the wonderful old-fashioned ink drawings of the original M.M.Milne books.

OTOH, there IS Captain Jack Sparrow....


Great discussion, thank you! I haved spent my life as an observer, not a participant, and tend to live inside my own head, where the world is quite entertaining enough without need of Disney. "G" So your insights are quite helpful. I adore music and dancing, and It's A Small World is as magical now as it was when I was small and first introduced to it at the NY World's Fair. My granddaughter insisted on returning several times, despite the lines and heat. We knew Labor Day weekend was a bad time to go, but we have limited options on vacation days and hoped for the best.

Since we only saw the child-oriented areas, Mickey and Goofy, et al, were the big attraction. No Captain Jack,darn it.

Maybe it was the heat and the crowds, but I really saw very few smiling faces. That's one of the things that instigated my spiel. I saw one adorable toddler who skipped and laughed, and my granddaughter, who walked around wide-eyed. But on the whole, it was tired, scowling adults or ones so desperate to squeeze in as much action for their money as they could that they didn't slow down to smell the wonderful roses.

And SS, I haven't watched any Disney cartoons since Bambi and 1001 Dalmations, so hadn't noticed the misogyny so much. It was the awful suspense that my cowardice couldn't handle. My granddaughter is the same way. She can manage some of the Dreamworks cartoons, but can't get through Little Mermaid. Vivid imaginations have their drawbacks!


Pat, I know exactly what you mean about the curse of an over-active imagination.

I couldn't have been more than four or five, but I clearly remember having to leave "Fantasia" -- those centaurs and the lightning really freaked me out. To this day I only have to hear the opening notes to "Night on Bald Mountain" to break out in a sweat and start listening for hoof-beats behind me....


oooh, Disney :) I live in Tampa right now and the best perk to me is that we are only an hour from DisneyWorld. My kids love it, I love it, my husband loves it - we've totally bought in to the realm of Disney.

Why do I love Disney? Well, why do I read romance novels? To me, it's a world of characters - not just the actual characters from movies etc though obviously a place where happily ever after is the rule rather than the exception has its own appeal. But it's also the characters of the people who visit. I can look around and see who wants to be there and who deosn't, which person or child is there for the first time or the fiftieth, the teenager who links they're too cool to enjoy this place, and the one on the merry go round with a princess hat on her head. It's a whole world of "let's pretend" in a little piece of reality. While I couldn't live there every day, I relish the chance to go to a place where I'm not worrying about cleaning my house or paying my bills. Maybe it's plastic, but I'm willing to look beyond to a spirit that may exist only in my own head. Some would say romance novels, too, could fall in to this category. What's new about boy meets girl, fall in love, get married? Nothing, but it's in the presentation, the belief that in this slice of the world, love does win in the end. I'll take an extra sprinkle of pixie dust, please :)


I would have to strongly disagree that Disney is anti-women based on the examples cited. Bambi's mother dies - so does Nemo's. But Bambi wasn't written by Disney. He did choose to adapt it, as a story of a father and son when the world was missing a number of fathers. Mrs. Dumbo is arrested - for defending her son - for refusing to allow him to be mistreated when others are judging him on his physical appearance and not on his heart or abilities. how is that anti-female?

The super-baddies are all female? What about Cap'n Hook? King John? Peg Leg Pete? You cite Pocahontas givng up her world for john Smith - where was the female villan in that piece? How about the strong woman of Hercules? Or Snow White's kindness and resourcefulness? What about Cinderella's good heart leading to her happy ending? The prince didn't save her or break the door down to free her - the friends she had inspired and helped returned the favor and helped her. Kim Possible? Is she not a female superhero?

I'm just saying that it's as easy to cite a few examples and call it the whole story as it is with anything else. I run a feminist house and Disney is very welcome. Sometimes as a bad example, sometimes as a good one.


Pat -

I hear your point about unhappy people at the parks and agree - I've seen some miserable families there - I was one! But I didn't gain abusive parents via the park experience, it was just a rare chance for people to see the family dynamic we already had in action. People bring their own expectations to the park and I've seen it so many times I can name the categories a family slots into right off the bat. It's sort of like a wedding - people decide what it SHOULD be and ignore who their family members ARE and melt downs ensue.

As an adult, my kids and I always have a great time - but we bring realistic schedules and adjust them according to what the day brings.


I've only been to Disneyland once, when I was about 12, I think. It wasn't even finished yet--we couldn't go on the Matterhorn ride because they were still building it!

And I've never been to Disney World.

I have no real desire to visit either, because I'm not into amusement parks (thought I'd like to see the Epcot Center) but I had a wonderful time as a kid--the Peter Pan ride and the riverboat were my favorites. I don't think they had pirates yet.

The only Disney I really love is FANTASIA, though I still enjoy some of the other cartoons, especially BEAUTY AND THE BEAST. C.S. Lewis once described Disney's SNOW WHITE as "a strange mixture of genius and vulgarity," and I think he nailed it. So much of the magical element in the fairy tales is undercut by the low-comedy elements.


I am one of the Disney Freaks!! I love everything about Disney, the colours, the music, the smells, the rides, the sheer fun. I have never been to Disneyland in California, but I have been to Disney World in Orlando 4 times and would go 4 times a year if I could.

Why disney, for the same reason that I read romance novels...for the what ifs...the why nots...and the just maybes. What if we could fly off to Never Never land, or find a jar of honey with Pooh, or become a Princess? Why not look for Prince Charming, (or Cinderella), wish on a star, believe in magic? Just maybe the glass slipper will fit, the magic carpet will fly you all over town, and you can live happily ever after.

If we didn't have the What ifs, why nots, and just maybes we wouldn't have romance novels either - because don't they all answer one of these senarios?


I'm not a huge Disney fan but my husband and I spent our Honeymoon at Disney World. The air was cleaner, the streets were cleaner, the colors more vivid and romance was alive. I don't think it was because we'd just wed, either. There is something about the fantasy world Walt brought into focus that has always been appealing. Good triumphs over evil. The villians always got what they deserved. There was always a HEA and you could depend on it. And the moral of the story was what we all need to hear: that we can overcome any obstacle if we give it our all, keep believing and never quit. It was the embodiment of the American Dream brought to full living color in a format that we could all enjoy, polished to such fine gloss that they became classic works of art (as they literally were).

That's my two cents, anyhoo.


I want to go to Disneyland just cause I ALWAYS wanted to go as a kid and trust me going to Disneyland from Australia was HUGE thing when I was a kid. In fact, I don't think I ever knew anyone who managed to do it back then. It was just all our dreams. You know the biggie that you knew was never ever ever going to actually happen, but wanted anyway. Kind of like wanting that barbie campervan that cost 60 bajillion dollars and santa was never going to fork out for, but heck you just kept adding it to your list every year just of the off chance. So even though I'm now (slightly) older I still want to go to disneyland and one day I would love to take my kids and I DEFINITELY would buy the ears and wear them.


I have visited many entertainment parks, including both Disneys in the 70's and just returned from Disney World, and I personally feel the best one ever is Hershey Park in Pa.

My 14 yr old daughter, a friend and I hit HP at the end of July. They have a "free preview" that we take advantage of. Buy the ticket for the next day 2 1/2 hrs before closing, and you get in free that night- when the crowds are thinning and it's getting cooler. They validate your parking so you don't pay again the next day. They include the zoo for free. Etc Etc- friendly, considerate, affordable (lots of discount coupons out there,too). The factory tour is free. Basically we got 2 days of fun for $80 (yes all 3 of us)and $8 parking. Hershey has a full assortment of rides, activities, shows, characters(and happy families). Worth the trip.

Flash to our recent Disney. We took a shuttle from the hotel, but it became obvious every taxi, shuttle etc had to pay the $12 parking each day (or trip for cabs). Our 3 day, non park hopping tickets came to over $400. Our $4 water sprayer from Hershey was $18 at Disney. I was shocked by the prices on almost everything, compared to other parks, not even the real world.

However, we did see Epcot, Magic Kingdom and MGM. She took tons of photos and had a wonderful time. MGM was our favorite- we took the lesson with the Disney animator, the back lot tour, and well yeah we saw the Little Mermaid show (which was very good). I was amazed at how excited she was to see the parades and the characters. But, she's seen it done it, now she talks about going back to Hershey next summer.

Plus, for us, we didn't go to Fla for Disney, that was a filler. We went for Discovery Cove and swimming with dolphins. Even that park includes a free 7 day pass to your choice of Sea World or Busch Gardens. We had 3 trips to Sea World for free. It seems everyone offers breaks and considerations except Disney.

There are many more places that are beautifully clean, entertaining, and fun than in those early park days. Disney is still reaping the benefits of being best known, but I wish they would be less greedy. That alone keeps me from being a Disney groupie.


Perhaps part of the lure of Disney is that it invites one to suspend disbelief grandly and abandon cynicism. Jim Collins brought up the no-cynicism Disney culture in Good to Great and it just struck me. Disney is more bright, simple, and happy than most anything.


I grew up next to Disneyland - we can watch the fireworks from the backyard of my parents' house. So I've never bought plane tickets or booked a hotel, but I've been to Disneyland almost every year of my life that I can remember, at least once and generally more than that.

When I was young I went because it was fun; as I got older I started to go because it made me nostalgic, and I enjoyed going against the grain of most surly teenagers and liking the happy innocent kid stuff.

Eventually I actually developed a kind of adult relationship with the place...I wrote my senior thesis in college on the Pirates of the Carribean ride (about piracy, capitalism, the Disney ethos, and the importance of narrative in Disney rides) & I find that I can wander through the park not only thinking about how it works and why, analyzing it to death, but also experiencing the old simple carefree thrill I used to get as a little girl.

I love taking people to the Tiki room and talking them through it as a metaphor for sex - I love the Dole whips and the big pickles by Splash Mountain - I love Sleeping Beauty's Castle and Tom Sawyer's Island, the children's rides like Mr. Toad or Alice in Wonderland, they're delightful and sweet and strange. I've had friends who played Cinderella in the parade and a physics teacher who used to work the Jungle Cruise. I guess with my history, the park will never be soulless to me.

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