It’s our Wenchiversary!

Champagne flutes 1

By Mary Jo and the rest of the Wenchly Crew

Has it really been thirteen years since we cautiously launched the Word Wenches blog? Indeed yes, and so much has changed in the world, in publishing, and in us. We've lost beloved Wench sisters Edith Layton and Jo Beverley, entered into new genres and new forms of publishing, and we've expanded to having Wenches from Australia, Canada, the UK, and the US so we can truly say that the sun never sets on the Wench Empire!

IceCreamWikipedeaHere is the very first Word Wench blog post, also written by me. (I thought I was better at not volunteering!) Here is also a link for the first month of blogs, as we felt our way into this new enterprise and learned how to use the blog site's tools.

And we're still here, musing three times a week on books, history, travel, and other intriguing topics. Blogging is work even if we each only write one about every two weeks. When on deadline, there can be a mad scramble to swap dates, whip off something very quickly, or republish an older post. But we've kept blogging all these years because, basically, we like doing this.

We like connecting with our readers. We like being able to do quick, low stakes riffs on Dianethings that catch our attention. We LOVE telling readers about our new books, or new authors we've discovered.

For our first anniversary, we did a three part series on Getting Naked With the Wenches, and very popular it was! Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

 

Read more

Ask A Wench: First Sentences

Fountainpen
Susanna here
, with our Ask A Wench post for this month.

A few weeks ago, I interviewed Andrew Pyper, author of The Homecoming, for a session at my local library, and while doing my preparation for that interview I came across an article he’d written for the Globe & Mail in 2012, called Crafting the Novel’s Crucial First Line.

Here’s an excerpt:

“no writerly preoccupation is more universally shared – or has been the cause of more agonized hours staring at the blank page – than the First Line…
How we begin a book is widely considered to be a matter so crucial, so decisive in determining whether a book soars or stalls, so elusive and mysterious, it's often spoken of in terms closer to spell-casting than sentence making…
There are no rules as to how to do it, other than one. A first line cannot, under any circumstances, be dull.”

*******

I’m a sucker for a good first sentence.

Read more

What We’re Reading in March

 … and what a medley it is.

Joanna here, with some lovely book suggestions from all of us.Wench bujold

I’m rereading one of Lois MlcMaster Bujold’s books. The Curse of Chalion. I picked it up at the library because the librarian had it out on the Recommended Shelf and I was reminded of it. 

When we reread books we sometimes come at them a little differently or, at least, I do. This time, when I approached Bujold’s broken, exhausted, emotionally and psychically destroyed protagonist I was better able to see the honorable man beneath. It’s a new way for me to look at heroism and I’m hoping to learn from it.

This is not a Romance, but it’s a satisfying portrayal of a complex protagonist and — yes — a bit of a love story.

 

Andrea writes:

I’m a big fan of Charles Finch’s historical mysteries—I find his Charles Lenox series, set in early Victorian England, an absolute delight. So it’s always a treat when a new one comes out.

Now, Finch has done something really interesting with the series. In the first book, A Beautiful Blue Death, which came out 12 years ago, we meet Lenox as an established amateur detective. He’s a cultured, erudite, clever younger son, so his slightly “black sheep” profession is tolerated by family and friends (it helps that he’s such a lovely, sensitive fellow) And throughout the next nine books, we see him develop, take on new challenges, dabble in politics, get married, have a child . . . all while unraveling some very intriguing mysteries.

Wench vanishing manThen lo and behold, like the clever mystery writer he is, Finch suddenly surprised his readers with a unexpected plot twist. In his previous book, The Woman in the Water, the 11th in the series, he started writing a “prequel to the series—we meed Charles as a green cub, just down from Oxford, trying to decide what he wants to do in life. He loves solving conundrums, but everyone thinks he’s a fool to consider it as a possible career. Nonetheless, he keeps reading the papers about crime, and finds he has an idea he thinks may help solve one. The police, of course, dismiss him as fop and

Read more

What We’re Reading in February

White horse booksNicola here, introducing the Wenchly reading recommendations in the month of February. As ever we have a big mix of books for you and look forward to hearing what you've been reading too! the picture on the left is the rather gorgeous old bookshop in Marlborough, a town just down the road from me, where I love to browse. Sometimes you might even meet the resident bookshop ghost, which seems appropriate for Pat's first recommendation today!

Pat writes:

SEANCES ARE FOR SUCKERS by Tamara Berry

Ellie Wilde is a cynic, for good reason. As the youngest of triplets, she’s paying to keep her comatose sister in the best nursing home available by using her limited skill set—tricking people. To be fair, she also gives them comfort—by ridding their homes of ghosts she doesn’t believe in. People might call her a psychic medium, but in reality, she’s a great problem-solver and people reader. She has to be, or her sister will be out on the street. Her brother is a gym teacher and can’t possibly afford the cost of nursing care, so it’s up to Ellie. When she’s offered a small fortune and the opportunity to fly to England and live in a mansion while she rids the house of its resident ghost, she happily takes the job.

Read more

AAW — Films and TV shows

Anne here for this month's Ask A Wench, and the question of the moment is, "What movies or TV shows have you enjoyed lately?"

We start with Pat.  I record TV and never know how long the shows have been in the DVR. Looking at the list of unwatched programs, I’d say I have apparently stopped watching most regular TV. I used to love Modern Family until it got stale. Elementary has good and bad years, depending on the writers. The Good Place is still watchable, but they’re pushing their limits.

Maisel

So lately we’ve been streaming a few shows. Dietland is marvelously well-written and acted but occasionally violent. At the moment, I think The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel  is my very favorite.  Set in the early 60s, when Lenny Bruce kept getting thrown in jail for using obscenities in public (yes, kiddies, saying the F word would get you sent to jail), it’s about a young housewife with a gift for comedy. This was not a time when it was easy for a young mother to balance home and career, but the fact that her career is in sleazy nightclubs and makes little money stretches credulity a bit. The show is produced by the gifted people who created Gilmore Girls, so expect laughter, a little societal satire, and not total realism. But looking at the early 60s from our current perspective is entertaining, and the witty dialogue is laugh worthy. 

Endeavour-detective-series-751329Nicola here. With the new series of Endeavour, the Inspector Morse prequel, starting tonight, my Sunday night viewing is sorted for the next month and I’m very excited. I love this series with its flawed and fascinating characters, the period setting of 1960s Oxford and the clever plots. I’ve watched and re-watched the previous series so many times.

Read more