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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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  • Want to read ALL the posts by a specific Wench? Just scroll down to the bottom of her post and click on her name!

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:

    β€’ RWA RITA

    β€’ RWA Honor Roll

    β€’ RWA Top 10 Favorite

    β€’ RT Lifetime Achievement

    β€’ RT Living Legend

    β€’ RT Reviewers Choice

    β€’ Publishers Weekly Starred Reviews

    β€’ Golden Leaf

    β€’ Barclay Gold

    β€’ ABA Notable Book

    β€’ Historical Novels Review Editors Choice

    β€’ AAR Best Romance

    β€’ Smart Bitches Top 10

    β€’ Kirkus Reviews Top 21

    β€’ Library Journal Top 5

    β€’ Publishers Weekly Top 5

    β€’ Booklist Top 10

    β€’ Booktopia Top 10

    β€’ Golden Apple Award for Lifetime Achievement

    Bestseller Lists:

    β€’ NY Times

    β€’ Wall Street Journal

    β€’ USA Today

    β€’ Waldenbooks Mass Market

    β€’ Barnes & Noble

    β€’ Amazon.com

    β€’ Chicago Tribune

    β€’ Rocky Mountain News

    β€’ Publishers Weekly


« Reading the Fine Print . . . | Main | Mirror Mirror »


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Jen Kloester

Fabulous post, Anne, on a fabulous conference. ARRA deserve a huge round of applause for pulling off yet another splendid conference. Love all these great pictures of the different events and Canberra looks beautiful from Lake Burley Griffin. A wonderful celebration. Thanks for sharing it with us.


Enjoyed the pics along with the post. Hmm, ideal? Mary Stewart-Isle of Skye. Definitely.


Enjoyed the pics along with the post. Hmm, ideal? Mary Stewart-Isle of Skye. Definitely.


Many congratulations on your award! This sounds like a fun conference.

Anne Gracie

Oooh, Rose, I love the sound of that β€” but Isle of Skye in warm weather. *g*


I want a Betty Neels weekend in Holland. With ALL THE FOOD.

Anne Gracie

Thanks, Helena. Yes, it was a lot of fun. And now it’s back to work for me.

Anne Gracie

LOL β€” what great idea, Ros β€” she did do a pretty fabulous afternoon tea, didn’t she? I should have mentioned something about the food at ARRA, actually β€” it was sensational. Lunch each day was a smorgasbord of salads, sandwiches, a hot dish, and a range of delicious little desserts, and then there was morning and afternoon tea, in case we expired from hunger in between meals. I think you would have enjoyed it. g

Anne Gracie

Thanks Jen -- wish I'd had time to include a little of your clever commentary for the Regency fashion parade. It was a hoot -- and Georgette Heyer fans would have loved all your references.

Mary Jo Putney


Sounds like a fabulous conference! I wish I'd been there.

As you may or may not know, locating Canberra in its own separate federal state is straight out of the US history playbook: Washington, DC (for District of Columbia) was located in its swamp as a compromise between Northern and Southern states, neither of which wanted the capital in the other faction's territory. The District of Columnia was originally a square with the Potomac River running sort of diagonally across. Half the territory was taken from Maryland, the other chunk from Virginia. Later Virginia took their chunk back, but the District remains independent and under the direct control of Congress.

Anne Gracie

Yes, Mary Jo, it’s the same basic set-up β€” the gentle art of compromise g. Canberra is in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) which was originally part of New South Wales, but the ACT is under Federal law, and NSW state laws don’t apply here.


Congrats on the award, Anne! What a fun conference this must be. I follow along each year via the facebook photos and updates of Australian author and reader friends. (and it makes me even more excited for this summer's RWA!)

My first romance conference experience was a volunteer-run reader event called Celebrate Romance. It was on the small side and was attended by readers and authors who came from all over the U.S. It still ranks as one of the best weekend experiences I've ever had.

Thanks for the Canberra history lesson too. I love learning stuff like that!


Oh yes, congrats on your award. I have never been to a romance conference...yet. Your blog was great. thanks!


Hi Anne

What a fantastic weekend I have just gotten home and am exhausted LOL but I have been to all four of these conventions and had a blast at them all. Huge congrats on your win so well deserved and it was so good catching up :)

Have Fun


Anne, congratulations on your award! I was delighted when The Winter Bride won Favourite Historical Romance. This was my first reader's conference, and it was just So! Much! Fun! I staggered home with enough books to last me for months, plus a soft toy horse from Cathryn Hein, various other treasures, including chocolate. I'll be putting my name down for the next, no matter where it is...


Congratulations on your award, Anne. It looks like a wonderful time was had by all at ARRA. I especially like the sound of the fashion parade! They all look wonderful. Carol x

Sue W. McCormick

Congratulations on the award!

I have never been to a Romance convention. But I attend a Science Fiction convention every year. I attend a regional convention, rather than a national one. I find that they are cozier. I have made friends with some of the authors there, as well as with many of the fans.

Every year at Archon, a fellow fan and I sit in a secluded area and talk genealogy for a while. This May a national genealogy conference is meeting in her home town. We plan to balance things by sitting in a secluded area and talking Science Fiction!

Sue W. McCormick

I should have said "Science Fiction and Romance"! The friend and I are both compulsive readers in many fields. (As are many SF readers.)


Congratulations for your award. It's amazing to see so many talented ladies all together! And in such a beautiful place. In another life, I'd love to be Australian.

Sorry, but I've never been to a reader event.

Your questions made me dream, and I went out of the romance genre to look for an author I'd love to meet in this kind of event. I'd love to see any of my favourite writers in a beautiful landscape. I'll choose two of them, in a warm Mediterranean environment.

*Robert Graves in DeiΓ  (Majorca) or
*Gore Vidal in his villa in Ravello (Amalfi Coast)

But I'd take Bath any time -with Jane Austen, Georgette Heyer wrote amazing books, but I'm not sure she would be as interesting in person).


Went to Celebrate Romance for many years, and it was a wonderful experience every time!

Anne Gracie

Thanks so much, PJ. It was a lovely conference -- small, as most Australian ones are, compared to US conferences -- but that makes for a very friendly conference IMO. Celebrate Romance sounds wonderful. Im hoping I can get to RWA, too -- but not sure yet. It depends on a variety of factors. Heres hoping all the ducks line up

Anne Gracie

Thank you Laura. If you get the opportunity to go to a romance conference, take it. Theyre the friendliest conferences around in my experience β€” whether theyre reader based conferences, as this one was, or writing focused. I think romance people are special.

Anne Gracie

Helen, it was a blast, wasnt it? I got home last night and went to bed verrrrry early! Ive done my unpacking and my washing, cleared the over 350 emails that had piled up while I was away -- and now its back to work for me. I so enjoyed catching up with you and so many others. And I followed your advice to the letter -- I had fun! :)

Anne Gracie

Malvina, youre such a savvy and prolific reader Im amazed you havent hit a readers convention before! This is Your Tribe. LOL. It was fun wasnt it. And thanks -- I was thrilled to get the award β€” its very special when its voted for by readers. I have no doubt Ill be seeing you at the next ARRA conference, if not before.

Anne Gracie

Carol, it was a lot of fun. Those costumes do look amazing -- what an amazing amount of work had gone into them. I expect the Jane Austen festival will be even more spectacular.

Anne Gracie

Sue, before I discovered romance novels I was a big reader of science fiction, fantasy and crime, and I would love to attend a science fiction convention. Theres one in Australia every year and I think my friend Keri Arthur goes to it, so I might tag along next time -- if I have time.

I love that you two rebels sit in corners and talk out of school -- I have a genealogist friend in the US who will probably be at that conference. Shes a romance writer, too, so you could add to your rebellion and talk romance.

Anne Gracie

Yes, they say that romance readers are generally very prolific readers and most read across the sci-fi, fantasy and crime genres as well. Were just addicted to good stories.

Anne Gracie

Thanks, Bona. It was a fun convention. I hadnt been to a reader event either until ARRA started these conventions -- and theyre fun. Theres nothing like being in a hotel full of readers β€” people youve never met ought to be strangers, but who do you like to read and were instant friends, with no shortage of things to talk about.
Id join you happily with Robert Graves, but Im pretty sure Georgette Heyer would be fascinating -- not exactly warm and cosy, but fascinating. Have you read Jennifer Kloesters bio of her? At one time she lived in a mud hut in Africa. Theres a wonderful photo of her there.

Anne Gracie

Thanks., youre the second one whos mentioned Celebrate Romance -- it does sound wonderful. I gather its no long happening.


One year the RWA was in Washington DC. It's for authors, not readers, but the first day is open to the public. I took the afternoon off, hopped on the Metro, bought lots of books, and had a wonderful time. I've dreamed of attending again, but generally they are mid-week and too far away. Perhaps when I'm retired and so don't need to use vacation days (one can dream).

Wanted to say that the 1920s clothes reminded me of the Miss Fisher mysteries. As noted on the back of one of the books, Phryne is "she of the green-gray eyes, diamante garters, and outfits that should not be sprung suddenly on those of nervous dispositions." The clothing is wonderfully described on the page and is even better on the TV series where you can actually see the outfits.

Anne Gracie

RWA is a fab place for readers, I think -- as well as hundreds of authors, there are all the publisher giveaways. And everyone there is talking about romance. I havent been to RT so I cant compare it.
And yes, Susan, Phrynnes clothes in that TV series are simply gorrrrrgeous. There was an exhibition of them here recently -- the series is filmed in Melbourne, where I live -- but alas, I was deep in deadline mania and didnt have time to go. :(

Vicki W.

I too want to say congratulations on a well deserved win. The Winter Bride was wonderful.

Glad you had such an enjoyable break amongst the writing and editing.

No..never been to a book conference. I've gone to knitting convention's and plant conventions but never a book one.

Maybe I should convince several of my sisters to go to one with me one year. That would be a fun sister's event...especially since they all read romance's as well.

Anne Gracie

Thanks for the kind words on Winter Bride, Vicki. As for going with your sisters to a readers event, I think thats a fabulous idea. Whether its knitting or plants or books, I think its wonderful to meet up with people who share an interest or passion.


No, I did not read Heyer's biography by Koestler. I remember a review of that book that said something like -it's obvious that she had an ordinary life and the author tried to infuse some interest in a rather uneventful life.
I don't remember where did I read that review, could it be in the defunct The Romance Reader page? Or was it in The Guardian? I don't remember.
So I decided not to buy that book.

Anne Gracie

Fair enough -- I think most writers live fairly uneventful lives -- theyre too busy writing -- but they still hold a fascination for me. :)

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