Forged in Fire!

by Mary Jo

Taming fire was surely one of the most significant developments in human history.  Probably the discovery happened numerous times and numerous places, but the results were profound. Fire provided warmth, hot food, the ability to fire pottery and bricks. Fire made it possible to venture out at night, and to drive predators away from the campfires.  It enabled early humans to move from the tropics to cooler areas.

It could also be a tool for long distance communication.  There’s a marvelous scene in The Return of the King, the third Lord of the Rings movie, where signal fires are lit to summon the troops to battle.  It’s breathtaking to watch the fires catch on distant peaks.

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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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A Greek Odyssey

The Parthenon

Andrea here, wishing everyone a Happy New Year filled with all good things—including books, of course! All of the Wenches have exciting new releases coming throughout 2024—kicking off later this month with Christina and me! Check out this month’s newsletter for further details! (If you haven’t yet subscribed, just click on the sign-up button on the home page of this site!)

You’ll hear all about my new book in my next blog, but before I take you on a tour of my characters and backstories, I thought I’d share some real-life travel adventures, for a number of us Wenches do “boots on the ground” research for setting our books in faraway historical places.

I’m currently working on a new Lady Arianna mystery. The last one was set in St. Petersburg, Russia, which I was lucky enough to have visited years ago. This current one is set in Greece, and the mystery involves ancient antiquities and the controversy over Lord Elgin taking many of the Parthenon’s priceless treasures back to Britain. (Lord Byron was a vocal critic of Elgin and sought to stir public outrage in Britain over the earl’s “cultural looting.)

I visited Athens last year and climbed to the acropolis to see the magnificent Parthenon (an amazing experience) but my story also revolves around the Tomb of Agamemnon, which I have never visited. So, when I spotted a very alluring sale on a Viking cruise through the Greek Islands, with a featured visit to Mycenae and the Tomb, I jumped at the chance to explore it and many of the other incredible historic destinations  of Greece.

I confess, I have wanted to visit Greece ever since through reading Mary Stewart’s marvelous romantic suspense novels, The Moonspinners and This Rough Magic, as a young teenager. History, natural beauty, adventure  . . . how could I resist! So the trip was also an homage to my youthful dream of experiencing this legendary part of the world.

So, come along with me and I’ll give to a snapshot tour of all the glorious things I saw!

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About to push “Send!”

by Mary Jo

Some books are harder to write than than others and some seem like they will NEVER END!  I’m on the verge of pushing the send button on the book that has taken over my life: Golden Lord, which comes after Silver Lady, which released in December.   The hero is Cade, who was the brother in Silver Lady and my best guess is that it will be out in December 2024, but no promises!  I like the characters but they’ve been pretty recalcitrant.

Once I push that button, I look forward to a lot of time just sleeping!  And not looking forward to a massive office and house clean up. (Not going to show you any pictures of my desk–I have some pride!)  Princess Flufferbella keeps me company in the office, but you can see she’s looking rather bored.

This is going to be a really short blog since I’m not quite yet at the button pushing stage, but here’s a question for you: what kind of projects have you gotten bogged down in that you thought would never end?  And what did you do to celebrate when you finally finished?  Flufferbella and I want to know!

Mary Jo, looking forward to doing nothing