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The Wenches

  • Mary Jo Putney

  • Patricia Rice

  • Susan Fraser King

  • Anne Gracie

  • Nicola Cornick

  • Andrea Penrose

  • Christina Courtenay

In Memoriam

  • Jo Beverley
    Word Wench 2006-2016

  • Edith Layton
    Word Wench 2006-2009

Word Wenches Staff

Wench Staff Emeritae

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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)

    Awards Won:

    • RWA RITA

    • RWA Honor Roll

    • RWA Top 10 Favorite

    • RT Lifetime Achievement

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    • RT Reviewers Choice

    • Publishers Weekly Starred Reviews

    • Golden Leaf

    • Barclay Gold

    • ABA Notable Book

    • Historical Novels Review Editors Choice

    • AAR Best Romance

    • Smart Bitches Top 10

    Kirkus Reviews Top 21

    Library Journal Top 5

    Publishers Weekly Top 5

    Booklist Top 10

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    • Golden Apple Award for Lifetime Achievement

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    • Waldenbooks Mass Market

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    Chicago Tribune

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What a wonderfully complex array of thoughts and questions!

First, the written word can never hope to emulate the spoken word fully in all its complexity, with all the subtle nuances of vocal intonation and timbre, facial expression and body-language. Writing is never more than a visual diagram representing speech. But the spoken word is fleeting, severely limited in space and time, lost forever the moment after it has been uttered: the written word may survive for centuries, even millennia, and is able to link us with other humans who are long dead, and who lived in a world very different from our own. Most other animals can communicate very effectively with their own kind in the here and now, but humans are the only creatures that can touch the thoughts of others of their kind who lived far away and long ago.

Perhaps because I read (and write) non-fiction more than fiction, my priority in reading is that astonishing, sometimes humbling, contact with the mind, both the intellect and the emotions, of the writer. Certainly I love a good story as much as the next reader, and revel in vivid characters and exciting plots, in evocative description and witty dialogue. But above all, I like to be able to see through the author’s eyes for a while, whether the author is relating a stirring fictional tale, or inviting me into his or her thought-processes in interpreting the function or significance of an ancient artefact. Even when reading fiction, my primary identification is never with any of the characters, but always with the storyteller; the characters appear on a stage in my mind, and the writer is always there, directing, observing, explaining.

I should add that the non-fiction writer agonises every bit as much about finding exactly the right word or phrase as does the novelist. Making sure that the contact with the reader’s mind is as accurate, complete and unambiguous as possible is the same, and everyone writing for publication should edit and polish her prose to the best of her ability.

Nina P

Pat asked.. "Is it the well chosen words and sentences? The characters? The world they live in? The action and pacing of the story that keep you glued to the page?"

You could build the most wondrous world but if I can’t feel the cold rain, hear the crashing waves, see the lightening split the sky, why should I care? You could create the hero of my dreams but if he has nothing to care for or no one to care about, I can not know his heart. It's the way you make me feel, Pat, that keeps me turning the pages of your books.

I certainly can see the reason why an author would want to expand reader base, but please, be true to yourself.

I can also understand the desire and need to outdo one's self. But sometimes, great is great and perfect can be no more so.

Recently I received the following advice from a wonder editor friend of mine. I’ll share it here. Let it flow naturally, and try not to agonize too much over it, and you may find it comes easier.

Hugs to you, Wench Pat.

--the littlest wenchling


I guess for me a well written book is one that I don't have to think about the writing or the way it is written. Everything just seems to flow and i can picture the scenes almost as if it is a movie playing in my head. In fact, i have been known to get movies and books mixed up because I tend to "see" it all happening.

If I find that I have to really concentrate on the language or the phrasing, it will throw off the flow of the book and in turn throw me off. I have never really analyzed what it is about the story or the way it is written, but I guess it comes down to it flowing from one scene or idea to the next.

I can only imagine how difficult it is to make a book that is this easy to read, and I each and every author that sweats and swears through all of the writing, re-writing, and editing that goes into a book before I get it in my hot little hands. It is truly appreciated!

Patricia Rice

Ah you of kind thoughts! To prove I need serious editing at every level of a book, go back and re-read this blog. I really, really do know the difference between "aural" and "oral," but when my fingers race across the keyboard, they don't pay attention to find distinctions, and since the words sound alike, I don't hear it if I read aloud.

I'd like to time travel and ask our ancestors what they were THINKING to create words so similar in every aspect. Why not just go ahead and make them the same word while they're at it?!

Writing with the flow is all very well and good when one has water from a faucet, but my wild rivers need lots of taming. "G"

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