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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

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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:

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    • AAR Best Romance

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I’m sorry you missed the Shetlands. I was there in 2016. Beautiful place with LOTS of ponies. BTW, if the mane parts to the left, the pony is about half as valuable as a pony whose mane parts to the right. Some great Neolithic ruins and PUFFINS!! We did visit the Shetland Bus museum. It was a fascinating look at a part of WW2 that I didn’t know much about.
On the same cruise, we circumnavigated Iceland, with four stops. We had very little sun (the ship captain said that was unusual), but it is a beautiful country. I’d like to make another trip.

Beth Miller

Mary Jo, I'm so enjoying these posts about your trip! I was in Iceland on a 2-day stopover in 2014, coming back from Scotland. I stayed in a guesthouse just outside Reykjavik proper, and was able to walk into the city on the promenade along the water (where that Viking ship sculpture in your photo is located).

On my first evening, I did a Northern Lights cruise. It was one of those times where the conditions were "perfect" for the aurora, and while I could see the lights before we even left port, they were fainter than expected and never really got better. That being said, there are far worse things than being out on the deck of a boat at midnight in Iceland under a gorgeous sky.

On the next day, I did a snorkel in the Silfra Fissure. The Fissure is in Thingvellir Park, and it runs between the tectonic plates of North America and Europe. If you scuba dive it, you can actually go deep enough to touch one hand on each plate at the same time. But as a snorkel, you just pretty much ride a current through the 34F-degree water, in a dry suit. It's also pure water from a glacier, so we were encouraged to take a swig while in the water. There is no widlife to see under the water; just very cool rock formations. And never having worn a drysuit before, it was really cool to discover that aside from my hair, which was under a regular wetsuit hood, I was completely dry.

I did a whale watch that evening, which was a bust- and it was super windy. The next day, i rode an Icelandic horse, though the weather was crummy and we could only do a walk on a trail-- no chance to try out the cool gaits.

I would love to get back there and see more of the country outside of Reykjavik!

Mary Jo Putney

I'm envious, Jan! And I didn't know that about the parting of the manes on Shetland ponies. Indeed, I didn't know the manes DID part. *G* We'll get back to Shetland one of these days. Preferably sooner rather than later.

Mary Jo Putney

Oooh, sounds like you had a great trip, Beth! I'd heard about the fissure in Thingvellir, but since I'm not a diver, the knowledge was rather abstract. Your snorkel trip sounds like a good compensation, if cold!

Better a walk on an Icelandic horse than no horse at all. *G* We both need to get back to Iceland to spend more time!

Sue McCormick

I am envious. Shetlands — of course the Shelties (both equine and canine)! I didn't know about the Bus (a bit of history I'll be happy to learn more about.

But my main interest in the Shetlands (and the nearby Fair Isles) is the knitting. They have been generous in sharing patterns and know-how, but I would adore to watch one of those knitters. (Would you have noticed, if you had been able to land?)

I am equally envious of the trips to the Faroes and Iceland.

I'm getting to be quite the armchair traveler.

Cindy A

Which cruise line did you use? What time of year?


Sue McCormick, armchair travel is a time honored tradition, and it's cheaper and easier than going there in person. *G*

You're right about the fabulous knitting patterns in that part of the world, but I probably wouldn't have seen anyone doing that unless I went to a knitting shop or a knitter's home.

Anne Gracie

Wonderful blog, Mary Jo. I haven't been to any of these places, and would love to go. The closest I've been is watching the excellent TV murder mystery, Shetland.


This sounds like a wonderful cruise! I knew nothing about the history of Shetland or the Faroe Islands, it's quite fascinating. I once took a Air Luxembourg flight that did a 1 hour stopover in Reykjavik. They let us out of the plane to stretch our legs, so I can say I set foot in Iceland, but that's about it.

Vicki L.

The Shetland Bus link was fascinating! Thanks for including it. I also enjoyed the travelogue (and historical notes)as well..

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