Susan here, researching a new medieval novel and looking through my bookshelves and files for research notes and books on falconry and hawking–I’m returning to those scribbled handwritten notes, books on falconry and some new books on the subject, putting together a plot spin. I love revisiting old research and adding new to it, wandering a bit to see where it goes–so I’ve been peregrinating through the falconry notes. The new book, part of my new Highland Secrets series, involves a white gyrfalcon, considered the most precious and valuable of birds in the Middle Ages, the privilege of kings to own and fly–but the Scottish hero finds a gyrfalcon, a royal bird, and decides not to return it, putting his very life at risk. The first book, The Scottish Bride, will be out in April. More about that soon! (photo – Ladyhawke, fabulous movie)

In renewing my research, I came across some photos taken several years ago when a friend and I flew hawks for a day, and when I visited a local falconer to meet his trained goshawk as part of my research. The photos brought back the feeling of what it’s like, even briefly, to fly hawks and be around birds of prey. The research filled out the story for The Hawk Laird (my newly revised edition of the original Laird of the Wind) and other medieval stories. Later the falconry research added detail and content to Lady Macbeth and Queen Hereafter and other  books.

Experiential research is a great way to add layers to the writing of a story–I’ve flown hawks, shot arrows (and caught them!), trained with swords and weapons, taken harp lessons and more. I love the chance to try for myself what I’m researching for characters and story, discovering details I might not learn otherwise. (Susan with a Harris’s Hawk)

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Introducing The Hawk Laird

Susan here, with some adventures in research. Many of my books–-historical romance and mainstream historical fiction too—are based on actual historical events, real people and real places interwoven with fiction. I’m grateful to have had some great research luck over the years—deep research, luck, and synchronicity can help bring various elements together to strengthen a story.

My latest release is The Hawk Laird—now available for preorder in a gorgeous new edition from Dragonblade Publishing. It’s the newly revised and updated edition of my award-winning, USAToday-bestselling Laird of the Wind (originally published by Penguin). In revising the book, I made no changes to the story, but it is way less wordy (truly) and has lots more punch. I like this update very much, and I hope you will too.

In 14th century Scotland, a Scottish outlaw and falconer must undo the grim destiny foretold by a beautiful prophetess–while dealing with that stubborn lady and a bratty goshawk . . . James Lindsay was wrongly accused of betraying his friend, William Wallace. Then he discovers that Lady Isobel Seton, a beautiful young prophetess, made a dire prediction that implicated him, and he must act to prevent that. James has a secret to protect, and so does Isobel. The story grows from there …

“A complex, mesmerizing story of betrayal, retribution, and healing . . . a lyrical, compelling love story.”     – Library Journal

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Ask-A-Wench: What We’d Love to Write Someday

Susan here, with our AAW (Ask-A-Wench) feature for January, when we posed this question to ourselves:
Is there a time period or location that you’d love to write about but haven’t yet – a dream book or book setting that you’d love to try?
From ancients to aliens to mysteries, here’s what we came up with!

Pat says:  Let’s be fair, I’ve been published since 1984—forty years ago. I have averaged two and a half books a year over that period, working on 90 books, I believe. I have indulged myself by writing almost everything I’ve ever wanted to write and set it anywhere that interested me. The question I should be asked—is there anywhere or anything you haven’t written about?

And the only thing that comes to mind is my alien idea set in the jungles of South America. I’ve played at writing the story in several forms but so far, I’ve not been happy with the results. Now that I’ve actually visited Peru and Ecuador… I guess we’ll see what happens!

Nicola here. I’ve always been tempted to turn to crime. Crime writing that is. I love reading crime and thrillers and enjoy the challenge of a mystery and the satisfying way in which they can be solved. I think the only reason I’ve never given it a try is that I know nothing at all about police procedure, other than what I read in books or see on TV, and so it feels as though it would require a huge amount of research. Whilst I don’t mind doing that for my historical fiction it isn’t as appealing for another genre. So I will probably remain a keen reader of crime fiction rather than an author of it.

I’ve been lucky enough to write about several time periods that are my favourites – Regency, Tudor, 17th Century in England, but I’ve always wanted to write a book about Elizabeth Stuart, the Winter Queen, which would have to be a sweeping 17th century epic covering Scotland, Germany, Bohemia, Holland and finally England! One day, perhaps, but I’ll need to get on with it soon! The picture, by Jacques Fouquier, shows Elizabeth’s garden at Heidelberg Castle on the Rhine.

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Happy New Year 2024!


Here’s wishing that 2024 is the year we’ve all been waiting for — a year of peace and harmony in homes and communities, of healing and happiness, love and kindness. We wish you dreams come true and wonderful luck.

We’re looking forward to a great year of blogging, giveaways, great new books, and the fun of connecting with readers. Thank you for your support of our blog and our books!





Merry Christmas!

A Merry Happy Holiday to You!

Best wishes to you, our readers, for a wonderful holiday season – and thanks for being part of our blog family at Word Wenches! Be sure to check this space throughout the Yuletide season for our holiday blogs . . .

And wherever you are, happiest of holidays to you and yours!