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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:

    • RWA RITA

    • RWA Honor Roll

    • RWA Top 10 Favorite

    • RT Lifetime Achievement

    • RT Living Legend

    • 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

    • Booktopia Top 10

    • Golden Apple Award for Lifetime Achievement

    Bestseller Lists:

    NY Times

    • Wall Street Journal

    • USA Today

    • Waldenbooks Mass Market

    • Barnes & Noble

    • Amazon.com

    Chicago Tribune

    • Rocky Mountain News

    • Publishers Weekly


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Kathy Lynn Emerson

I've babbled like a fool to favorite authors in more than one genre. At Elizabeth Peters in mystery, Jayne Ann Krentz in romance and Sharon Kay Penman in historicals. I went blank on the title when I tried to tell Sharon how much I liked The Sunne in Splendor and ended up telling her I loved Crowne in Candlelight instead (by Rosemary Hawley Jarman). Not my finest moment. Fortunately later meetings with all three went much more smoothly.

Linda Manwiller

The three authors I was most impressed with (none of which, unfortunately were of the Wench variety)I saw at the National Book Festival in Washington, D. C. These were David McCullough, Lee Child, and Lois McMaster Bujold (who is a big Georgette Heyer fan). I also remember standing in line for over two hours for Terry Pratchett's autograph - only to be forced to leave in order to catch my bus home! That was a major disappointment for me!

Miriam Bresticker

Many many many years ago, when I was in college, Isaac Asimov came to speak, and afterwards he signed books. I brought one of his memoirs, and he said I must have already known all of his jokes. the only other thing I remember is that during his presentation, he sang, to the tune of Home on the Range, "Clone, clone of my own, with its own X and Y chromosome...."
My mom got to meet Roberta Gellis when she spoke at our library.

Nancy L Gessner

I used to 'haunt ' book signings'. I met Mary Higgins Clark and Carol Higgins Clark twice great ladies. Erma Bombeck who was a very tiny little lady despite what she wrote about being fat! Chris Van Alsburg signed a first edition of "The NorthPole Express" before anyone seemed to know who he was. I waited for Bob Hope in the rain and he proved to be very funny indeed. I found out that Edith Layton lived not far from me and frequented a local used book store that I went to but never had the chance to meet her. I love following the Word Wenches. Please keep the books coming!

Dana Selkirk

By the time I went to my first writers conference, I'd heard so many stories of "what not to do" that I was too timid to approach any published authors because I worried about bothering them or coming off as pushy. I just don't want to be that gal/guy, you know?

So, I was sitting in a big fluffy chair in the hotel lobby and reading a book on my smartphone when a woman plopped into the chair across from me and struck up a conversation. We'd been talking for quite a while before I realized she was Christine Feehan, whose books I'd read for years. Any time she ran into me in the halls after that she'd say hi and ask how I was enjoying the conference. Just the kindest, most welcoming person, and to someone she didn't know all.

It's embarrassing to me now that I never did say how much I'd enjoyed her books. :-/ Kind of ridiculous, really, to have had such trouble with that.

Fortunately, I'm not that little mouse of a person anymore. :-)

Anne Gracie

Hah, Kathy, I completely understand your boo-boo. *g*

Anne Gracie

Linda, you've named several of my favorite authors. Don't know David McCullough, but judging by the company he keeps maybe I need to buy one of his books.


Several years ago the RWA conference was in Washington DC so I got to go to the open book sale/signing on the first day. Several of the Wenches were there, and I think I helped make Julia Quinn's day when I said I'd very much enjoyed her "Mr. Cavendish, I Presume" because it turned the lost heir trope on its head. I was so very impressed with how gracious the Wenches were despite the crowds, and MJP guessed that I was Susan/DC from a comment I made to her. It was one of the Best Events Ever -- I left floating on Cloud 9, and if RWA is ever in DC I will definitely make it a point to go again.

Virginia Taylor

Ha ha, that's funny. I had lunch with Nora Roberts and I hadn't read any of her books. Back then she was a smoker and so was I so I was told by the non smokers to take her somewhere to have a cigarette. I would rather have died because I didn't know what to say to her. She understood, apparently, and she asked me who my favourite author was. I cleared my throat and said Patricia Gaffney and mentioned Crooked Hearts. She discussed the story with me and told me that Patricia was a very good friend of hers. The worst moment in my life, kindly smoothed over by a lovely woman.


I went to the book signing/sale at the Historical Romance Retreat in Spokane last fall, my very first time to meet some of the writers whose books I have been reading for decades. And there were a lot of them there, they had an amazing lineup of authors. I was pretty much awestruck, and wandering around in a daze. My mind went blank at least once when I tried to tell an author about my favorite book of hers-I think it was Madeline Hunter, and the book was By Arrangement(of course I remember it now). But the most amazing of all was to chat with Mary Balogh. She was so charming and lovely, and made me feel like we were friends.
But the most famouse author I've ever met? That would be James Baldwin, and it wasn't at a book signing, it was at a bar in the Upper West Side neighborhood of Manhattan.


Most of the writers I've met or known have been science fiction writers. I have met several demigods of that genre and was I impressed? Yes and no. When they weren't talking about something interesting to me, they were just very ordinary guys. But at least they didn't bore on about football or politix or bebig themselves in my presence. I think the only ones who really impressed me were J. Michael Straczynski, Harlan Ellison, Larry Niven and Fred Pohl, because they treated me like a person, not just a(nother) fan.

I think the only romance writer I've spent more than a passing moment with is our own Anne Gracie. I had met Anne at a Heyer group tea back in the day, when she was just getting started, and had somehow stayed in touch. It's been a pleasure to follow her career and see her getting even better with each new book. I had the pleasure of having dinner with her a few months ago when she was passing through LA. We had a great conversation, and I hope she enjoyed the evening as much as I did.

Anne Gracie

Thanks so much, Janice. That original afternoon tea of the LA Heyer group was such a treat for me -- on my way to my first-ever RWAmerica conference, where my first book was a finalists in the RITA for best first book. All the Heyerites were so kind, and I wanted to give each of them a book, but alas, I only had one copy to give away.
And that dinner we had in LA last year was lovely. I'm so pleased we've been able to stay in touch all this time.

Nicola Cornick

I absolutely love these stories of fan moments! I've become tongue-tied over favourite authors more times than I can count. The most memorable was Michael Wood, the historian, whom I met at a literary festival and blurted out that he had been influential in making me want to study history. Fortunately I didn't mention how great he had looked in his first TV series in his leather jacket and that our tutors scheduled his programmes at 8am and he was the only person we would get out of bed that early for! He was absolutely charming to me and it was good to discover he was as lovely as he seemed to be!

Sue McCormick

As a copy editor and a long time Science fiction fan, I have always been aware that authors were people. (Also, I was a daughter of one of the best known elementary school principals in St. Louis — my father had standing in both the city and the state educational area), so I grew up with the "child of a prominant" awestruck meetings. This has saved me from much of the scenes you you have spoken of.

However (and all SF), picture fans (including a newly published author) weary at the end of a convention, in an elevator going out to pack up the car, so as to clear up the room. A voice calls out "Hold that elevator." We do, and man and wife join us. Dead silence, the door holder forgetting to release the button. As most veteran, I recovered first. I choked out "Good Morning, Dr. Asimov" and he told us how happy he was about the new "respectability" SF was gaining in the main stream.

Story 2, at another Lunacon (NYC convention). I was telling the guest of honor about a conversation at my job, when I set to a temporary worker, "Oh do you know Ch- — I don't know Mr Delany" and he graciously said, you can call me "Chip" any time you like.

And prior to these, the author I DID NOT meet. Bob and I were on the planning committee for the St. Louis convention (Archon) and working very hard on it (as all committees do) when my job was moved from St. Louis to New York. I had lots of seniority, and so could have vacationed in time to return for Archon, but my husband had a brand new job, and so no vacation time. So we neither one of attended the ONLY science fiction convention Stephen King ever attended! The author we never met. (Besides, it was Bob who read Stephen King, not me.)

Sue McCormick

*...said to a ..."

Susanna Kearsley

Yes, Kathy, like Anne said, we all understand this one (and most of us have done it, too!) I'm particularly bad at remembering titles.

Susanna Kearsley

Meeting Terry Pratchett would have been wonderful -- I feel your disappointment in that one.

But I'm glad the other three met expectations!

Susanna Kearsley

...and now I'VE got that song stuck in my head, too :-)

Along with a song Asimov included in his novel "Caves of Steel", in which the humans taunt the alien "Spacers" with a racist song set to the tune of "Mademoiselle from Armentières" (the old song with the "Hinky Dinky Parlez-Vous" refrain), which I've had stuck in my brain for coming on forty years now.

Evidently it was a particular skill of Asimov's :-)

Susanna Kearsley

Nancy, those all sound like great author encounters! And no embarrassing incidents, either. Well done, you!

Susanna Kearsley

Dana, it's always nice to find out that someone whose stories you love is a really nice person on top of it all, isn't it?

Thanks for sharing this.

Susanna Kearsley

Susan, I don't know when RWA will be in DC again, but in 2019, from July 24-27, it's going to be in New York City, and that's only a few hours away from you by train: https://www.amtrak.com/alternative-to-buses-new-york-city-washington-dc-train

So hopefully we'll get to see you there!

Susanna Kearsley

Virginia, every story I hear about Nora is a good one! In New Orleans a couple of years ago I was supposed to meet a friend in the conference hotel lobby for late night drinks, only the event I was at was running late so my friend ended up having to wait all alone in the lobby.

I felt bad about this and was worried, but when I finally managed to get there, I found she wasn't alone at all -- Nora Roberts and HER friend had spotted my friend sitting all on her own, and they'd gone over and were keeping her company.

There was quite the party going on around my friend when I arrived. And I, of course, had missed it all :-)

Susanna Kearsley

Karin, meeting James Baldwin in a Manhattan bar is a hard one to top, I think!

Thanks for sharing all this with us.

Susanna Kearsley

Janice, we love Anne, too!

She's a wonderful person (and writer).

Susanna Kearsley


I loved Michael Wood and his leather jacket too, back in the day!

He definitely made history more...interesting...for me :-)

Susanna Kearsley

Sue, I would have loved to have been in that elevator with you.

My American agent is Shawna McCarthy, who also worked with Isaac Asimov, and one day I plan to buy her a big round of drinks and just hear all her stories.

Anne Gracie

Susan, I don't know if we met at that conference or not — I think I was there -- but if you or any other Wenchly Readers ever meet a wench, please let us know you're a regular reader of the blog. We'd be thrilled to meet you in person.

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