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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:

    • 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:

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    Chicago Tribune

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Pamela DG

To paraphrase Shakespeare, I've always known there is more to heaven and earth than is dreamt of in my philosophy. There have been several experiences, but I'll mention two. Both times I was with several other medical reenactors and historians as we camped behind the Pennsylvania Monument. I'The first experience were orbs at Gettysburg National Battlefield as they followed us ladies if we left our camp after dark. I think they were escorting us since our men seemed preoccupied. The guys saw nothing and were wondering what we were talking about when we mentioned our "escorts." My husband, Van, has a similar openness to mine and went out with me. No orbs. Apparently, I didn't need an escort when he was with me. The other time, we were camped again the next year and one night when the tourists were away some soldiers from another camp joined us and talked, sharing experiences, and laughing at jokes. It was only after they left that we remembered we were the only camp on the battlefield. We all had the shivers after that.

Christina Courtenay

I definitely believe there are things we can't explain! Some people I know lived in a 14th century house where there were ghostly sightings and unexplained noises and although I never saw anything myself, I'm sure it happened. (I'm a bit of a chicken so was actually quite glad not to enounter any ghosts :-D). I did feel the same as you at Culloden though - such an incredibly sad place!

Mary T

Are there ghost? I don't know - maybe. I do know that there have been times when (I swear) I could feel the presence of loved ones I have lost.

As for psychic powers - my mother was able to make watches that had stopped start working again by concentrating her thoughts on them. However, when she stopped concentrating, the watch would stop again. As a child I remember thinking that while it was an amazing feat, it didn't fix the watch (smile) so it seemed like a waste of energy to me.

Your book sounds interesting -looking forward to it.

Lynne Seabury

I've had dream "visits" from loved ones who have passed. My husband has seen an angel twice, and my mother saw an angel once. not spooky!


I won't relate the experience with the Ouija board when I was a teen. Needless to say, neither I nor my friend, ever touched one again.

We built a home on the property my dad bought in 1937. He was, through thick and thin, determined to forever hold onto that property. When he passed, we took the 450 square foot house that I grew up in, down, and built new. We stayed there 12 years until a job relocation forced us to sell, but during times when I was alone in the house, I would hear my dad walking around on the second floor. I knew without a doubt it was him. He had a particular gait. I used to wonder after we moved if the buyers had heard him but during the past year or so, I've heard him here. The cat and dog both hear him as well. There are times when the cat won't go upstairs for hours. So maybe souls aren't always grounded in the physical, but in the personal. Maybe they follow those they loved in life.

I miss my dad :(

Catherine M Haynes

When my children were still at home, one night we were all in the living room watching a movie (a fuuny one, not scary). We all heard a thump from the kitchen, I went in to have a look and all the dishes in the dish rack on the counter, were all standing straight up, not leaning over (like I left them). I asked the kids if anyone stoud the dishes upright; but none of them had.

Nina D.

I saw my first shadow figure at age 5, so I completely believe. I also used to have dreams of premonition. Nothing earth-shattering or sexy. Just glimpses of my future in everyday life. Not deja vu. These were incidents that were one-off, unique occurrences. It may run in the family.

Anne W

My best friend believed. She swore she saw her dead father walking down the path to his workshop. After her maternal grandmother died and her family moved into the house she occasionally heard her grandmother going thru the house and checking to make sure the doors were locked.

Patricia Franzino

Hi Nicola, I certainly believe in paranormal activity that is part of the atmosphere of any place where strong emotion and events occurred.

I once met someone who was able to pick up on ghosts in historic houses. He could feel them close to him and would ask, is it you? He always felt an affirmative answer.

I am grateful I have so far never encountered any such thing and would prefer to keep it that way.

Sharon Seymour

I’ve had 2 really spooky experiences. One was at Larnach Castle in New Zealand and the other was at Port Arthur in Tasmania - both times I was on holiday and I felt 100% fine, I was happily looking around inside a building each time and then had this overwhelming feeling where I just had to get outside and as soon as I was outside I felt perfectly fine, but you couldn’t get me back in there for love or money.

Sonia Bellhouse

Fascinating stuff- I can certainly believe when I visit some of the old churches and castles.York Minster was particularly dense with history and the past. My personal experience. I was sitting with my mother in hospital as she was dying and I wasn't thinking of anything at all. I saw a shadow figure in the corner of the room- nothing more than a silhouette as I glanced away my mother passed and then the figure was gone.It stunned me, as it was completely unexpected.I have never doubted this was what happened.

Nicola Cornick

Pamela, that story gave me the shivers too! The thought of chatting and laughing with those soldiers... I love the idea of the chivalrous orbs escorting you, as well!

Nicola Cornick

Hi Christina, yes, I'm with you in not wanting to seek out ghostly experiences! It makes me quite nervous to think about it and a couple of times when it happened to me I was very scared.
I've never known anywhere quite like Culloden. There is such a palpable sense of loss and sadness there.

Nicola Cornick

LOL, Mary, you sound to have been a very practical child! That's quite a talent your mother had but as you say, if she had to focus on it all the time to make the watch tick, it wouldn't have given her much time for anything else!

Nicola Cornick

Lynne, that sounds beautiful. I imagine seeing angels would be a lovely, reassuring experience.

Nicola Cornick

Oh theo! It does indeed sound as though your dad is anchored to those he loved and those who love him which is a very comforting and lovely thing to think about.

Nicola Cornick

That is very spooky, Catherine! It's really bizarre how things like that happen when no one has been in a room or moved things. I'd be fascinated to see that happen although probably scared as well.

Nicola Cornick

Nina, I think your story does demonstrate that some people have abilities we don't really understand. It always makes me feel that there is so much to learn about ourselves and the world we can't always see, but perhaps no everyone has those gifts.

Nicola Cornick

It sounds as though your friend was very receptive to the supernatural, Anne. I think some people are more naturally in tune with these things than others are, and also that it must be quite a comfort to feel your loved ones close by.

Nicola Cornick

Hi Patricia. I imagine historic houses must be full of ghosts if you are on the right wavelength to sense them. Like you I prefer not to go seeking ghostly experiences and although I have encountered the unexplained I would never actively search for it.

Nicola Cornick

That's fascinating, Sharon. There are some places where the atmosphere is so strong it's overwhelming and I think we pick up on that. My husband, who really does not like any sort of supernatural experience, was once driving along a country road in Yorkshire when he came across a big old house. He says he was gripped by a sense of absolute dread and just knew he had to get out of there as quickly as possible. It's very strange, isn't it!

Nicola Cornick

Sonia, that is extraordinary and very moving.

Carol Warham

Fascinating blog andcomments. I love history and historical p!aces but must be completely insensitive. I have never felt anything anywhere. I don't doubt there are many things we can't explain. I love the story of the Century and marching across the cellars of the Treasurers House.


I'm a spiritualist and psychometry isn't strange to me at all, I even try not to think of this when I visit old places, museums, etc. But there are times I can't help it! Three years ago, my husband and I visited London and, while getting a tour of St. Paul's Cathedral, I got such a sad feeling, such oppression that I couldn't explain, but that was making me feel sick. My husband isn't a spiritualist, but suddenly turned to me and said 'I think I'll light a candle here'. He paid for the candle and lit it and while he was doing this, I prayed for all the ones who'd been buried in St Paul's. The oppressive feeling vanished and I didn't know whether I was amazed at the fact or at my hubby's suggestion.


Psychometry can be a wonderful gift or a difficult one, like any kind of psychic/spiritual sensitivity.

But my life would be sadly one-dimensional if I wasn't aware of and able to interact with all the spirit forces surrounding me and everyone else in at least the human world. Although I've seen my pets--one part wolf dog in particular--that clearly saw spirits even before I noticed them.

I think my favorites are the nature spirits, and some of the older gods and goddesses.

I've really enjoyed this discussion!! Got the book, too.

Make Kay

As a STEM person, I firmly believe that there are no ghosts or supernatural things. But I think our minds are great at inventing them to explain things that actually have rational explanations that we simply haven't discovered yet.


Oh, of course, there is more than we can possibly explain with our philosophy! I had a love/hate relationship with my grandmother, who was both loving and selfless, and extremely judgmental and cantankerous. She died when I was seventeen, but I am absolutely certain she's been looking out for me since. On two separate occasions I've had weird physical complaints that have sent me to a doctor, and both times I ended up being diagnosed with a serious medical issue. Both times, however, doctors insisted that my symptoms could not possibly have been indicative of the problems found, yet both times, the symptoms disappeared completely as soon as I was diagnosed. I also once lived in a house where I kept smelling smoke. I was always slightly nervous, but nothing ever happened. The year after we moved out, however, a dear neighbor who lived next door died in a house fire. And while I've never been to Culloden, on my one visit to Auschwitz I was physically overcome by the psychic remnants of pain there. I can't wait to read your book, Nicola.

Teresa Broderick

We built the house we now live in just over thirteen years ago. Since we moved in we have all (four of us) seen a shadow come and go. You can never make out if it's male or female but it's definitely a person.
Several times when one or other have been in the house on our own, we heard footsteps upstairs.
Also I was watching tv in the sitting room one day and I heard someone come in and stand behind me. Thinking it was one of the family I called out. When there was no answer I turned round and there was no one there. The feeling also left as I turned.
We're not scared. Whatever or whoever it is hasn't done us any harm in all that time and it's not a bad feeling we get but sometimes it can be a bit eerie!
Yes I do believe in it all.

Sue McCormick

I am open to the idea, but do not actually believe. I too have felt visits from departed family members, and I welcome them. They are loving presences, not messages.

You have mentioned that there is no proof. No one has found the proper measurig stick (and no one is truly looking for one.) If supernatural or paranormal exist, a proper measuring stick must be found. Until then, there will be no proof.


"Believe" isn't the word I would use. I think there are phenomena out there that we don't know what they are, but I think they are not unknowable by us, if we keep our minds open and working.

That said, I do love a good ghost story. The Uninvited with Ray Milland is one of my favorite movies.

Pat Dupuy

I am open to ghosts and the supernatural. There have been many strange sightings and experiences out there. Evidently ghosts are not open to me. I’ve visited a number of haunted buildings and I swear the ghosts go on vacation while I’m there!


People used to see flying saucers and other ufo's but I think most could be explained away as optical illusions or odd states of mind(whisky induced perhaps!?). A more scientific approach would note that the mind takes short cuts involving interpolation or extrapolating from previous experience. Unusual environments can trigger such activity. More rigorous analysis requires reproducibility in controlled experiments and ghosts never seem to conform to expectation .... they could be playing games with us but I'm skeptical! There is much in this universe that we still don't understand but I wouldn't put ghosts high on the list 😀

Sonia Bellhouse

Thank you, I wasn't expecting her to pass, I wasn't thinking about death. It has been suggested to me that in grief I created the figure, but I don't think so, I believe it was a genuine experience although i one I don't usually talk about.


I do believe in spirits being attached to people and places, kind of like the “recycled souls” of your ancestors of your ancestors being with you. This was especially true when one of my youngest sisters always waking up in the middle of the night crying for her “Rose” mommy when she was 4-5 years old. It turns out that a great, great grandmother was put on a ship from Ireland to the U.S. when she was 5 years old, leaving behind her birth mother named Rose.

Nicola Cornick

I think people often try to explain phenomenon like these as something we create in grief but other interpretations are equally as likely. Just because we don't understand how they occur doesn't mean they haven't happened!

Nicola Cornick

LOL,Carol! I don't think you could be described as completely insensitive! Some people are probably more prone to seeing or hearing these things than others, just as we all have different gifts.
That ghost story about York is one of my favourites too. My college tutor had a similar experience on Hadrians Wall when she saw a line of Roman soldiers following her along the road!

Nicola Cornick

That's a beautiful story, Andrea. Evidently you are very open to these things and your husband is sensitive to that.

Nicola Cornick

Thank you, Faith! Yes, the ability of animals to sense and see spirits is very strong, isn't it. When we lived in our haunted cottage, our cat would sometimes look up and turn her head as though she was following the progress of someone walking across the room. Our previous Labrador was also very sensitive to these things. There was a place in our village he was always very unhappy to walk past and would sit down and simply refuse to move.
I love the richness that these spirits and forces add to our stories and out lives.

Nicola Cornick

I think that's my husband's attitude too! It feels to me that it would be quite arrogant of us to assume that we understand all the laws of nature, or physics or all manner of things when clearly there are things we can't explain even in this modern age! In another thousand years people will probably laugh at how little we knew...

Nicola Cornick

Margaret, I think Auschwitz has a similar sense of oppressive sadness to Culloden. It's extraordinarily powerful.
Interesting that you mention smoke. When I was a teenager we had a close family friend who was a big smoker. After he died we often smelled the scent of smoke hanging around and even now I catch it sometimes and think "oh, that's Arthur still looking out for us." I think it's wonderful that you feel your grandmother's presence in a protective capacity.

Nicola Cornick

That is a very spooky story, Teresa, but it's interesting that you don't feel scared by the presence in the house. That's exactly how we were in our cottage; with the exception of one occasion that was very frightening, the ghostly presence didn't hurt or scare us. We could co-exist quite comfortably.

Nicola Cornick

That's a very fair point, Sue! How does one measure these things? I can't imagine a way of doing that which would satisfy everyone. We are always going to have that spectrum of belief/openness/disbelief, I think.

Nicola Cornick

I like the idea of being open to different phenomena, Janice. It feels thoughtful and measured.
The Uninvited is very chilling!

Nicola Cornick

LOL, Pat! You never know when one might pop up! Your comment made me realise that I haven't seen any ghosts in buildings that already have a reputation for being haunted. I've been to a lot of the most famous places and not seen a thing.

Nicola Cornick

I definitely agree that a lot of supernatural occurrences probably do have natural or logical explanations. It's the ones that don't which make me wonder. Perhaps one day we will be able to understand them. I'm with Shakespeare on this one. There are still many things we cannot explain...

Nicola Cornick

That is such a heartbreaking story. Children do seem to be very open to picking up on these connections, perhaps because they don't "filter" them in the way that many adults do. I hope that your great, great-grandmother found happiness in her new life.

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