Our Heartfelt Thanks

JoBev1Susan here, on behalf of all the Word Wenches, extending our gratitude and love in return for your many comments this week—hundreds of them—in honor of our dear friend and Wench sister Jo Beverley. Your wonderful words and heartfelt thoughts, your stories and memories and insights, inspired and touched all who read them. Whether you left a comment or quietly came by, we thank you for the kindness, compassion and comfort your gestures brought Jo’s family, friends, and readers.

We realize that most of you did not have the time to read every comment. So today we’re presenting a sampling from among the nearly four hundred comments left in memory of Jo, drawn from readers, friends, authors, and publishing people too. We hope you love them as much as we do.

Jo Beverley was indeed an extraordinary woman, a brilliant and beloved writer, a wise and treasured friend. She will never be forgotten, and her books will continue to warm our hearts, as your own words attest . . . .  

Cynthia Johnson aka Evelyn Richardson said…
I loved Jo's books way before I met her, and meeting her just made me love them more. I had a supreme moment this year on the Regency loop when I was actually able to find an answer to a Regency question for her–the EXPERT! But for me the most memorable was sitting next to her at a RITA awards ceremony when, without realizing it, she summed up for me what was wrong with my life (especially as a teenager). She told me that when she's made it to her first bestseller list she went out and got her hair done because she said "All my life I've wanted a hairdo and now I am going to have a hairdo!" (you have to read this with a fabulously cultivated British accent). And I thought, "Damn! That's what's wrong with my life; I've never had a hairdo!" Always had pretty much straight unbeautified hair. I still have straight unbeautified hair, but now at least I know that's why I am not all that I hoped I could be. The world is a lesser place without someone who could write so beautifully and state things so succinctly

Vicki Cameron said…
Jo-at 2014 RWALet me share my memories of Jo. I met her in 1985 at a meeting of Ottawa Romance Writers Association. She wasn't published at the time, but she invited me to join her working group. Every week, I drove to her house and sat at her kitchen table with four other would-be writers. We read and critiqued each other's work while we drank tea. Jo was exceedingly generous with her comments and help. She truly wanted to see all of us succeed. ORWA had a little in-house writing competition, which Jo won, and the top three stories were printed in a little booklet. The next month we had an agent as our guest speaker, and someone gave her a copy of the booklet. The next week, Jo was signed up with her and shortly afterward, Lord Wraybourne's Betrothed became the first published novel from our group. She was so good at writing she didn't need our critiques, but she kept the group going so she could mentor others.

Terri Brisbin said…
I did not know of Jo's illness so her passing was even more a shock to me. I will always remember her willingness to help out other authors….especially new one as I was when we first met.

I first met Jo at the Celebrate Romance event in Philly in 1999 – she was the 'patron saint/author' of the group and brought port for all of us to try! Then, I would see her at conferences or on loops and she was always gracious (with a wonderful dry sense of humor). My last interaction with her in person was our hilarious game – Shocking the Queen – at RomCon a couple of years ago – again her wit and knowledge was wonderful.

1766666.thbShe was also one of the first historical romance authors I read and my favorite of her stories were not her fabulous Regencies but her medievals… I reread THE SHATTERED ROSE at least yearly. I send my warmest thoughts and prayers to those of you she called friend and to her family. She is and will be missed.

Cathy Maxwell said…
Jo embodied the best in all of us–open, witty, sincere, always sensible and generous, and, of course, insanely talented. I already miss her buoyant honesty.

Kathleen Eagle said…
I came to Jo's stories not as a Regency fan–that's not the historical period I reach for–but as a reader who gets lost in the well-written book, hooked on the flesh and blood cast of characters. Jo gave this reader all of that.

As a writer I came to Jo's conference talks looking for wisdom. Jo gave our community of writers that. One of my favorite presentations was all about how Romance works. She and I weren't in complete agreement about the definition, but she made me think, and she charmed my socks off with her allegory of the voles. Complete with stuffed critters! Jo was a wonderful teacher.

Sharing online writers' groups with Jo has been an important part of my day. Such a wise woman, she's always been generous. And talk about the life of the party–fun, funny, approachable, welcoming. We'll miss the sound of her voice, but we'll always have her voice on the page. And the gift of her friendship.

109588966.thbSail on, silver girl.

Caro Kinkead said…
I woke up this morning to discover this sad, sad news. I knew Jo on the old GEnie network, though lost touch a number of years ago. We met a few times at RWA conferences, and it was at one of the Beau Monde parties that I appeared dressed in a Regency gown with a period-accurate neckline, displaying a fair amount of bosom. Jo dragged me over to where several editors were sitting and announced "THIS is what they wore – not nightgowns!" She was very gleeful at the dropped jaws, especially when I demonstrated that I could bend over without falling out due to the corsetry underneath and my room card stayed tucked in my cleavage.

 She will be sorely missed, both as a writer and as a person.

Laura Resnick said…
A memory I have of Jo that says so much about who she was: I roomed with her several times at conferences. And on every occasion, after we unpacked in the room and settled in, we'd decide to go get a meal. Invariably, EVERY TIME, we'd set out as a party of two, and we'd arrive at the hotel coffee shop or nearby restaurant as a party of 8 or 10. Because between our room and wherever we were going, we'd meet friends of Jo's who were so happy to see her, as well as new conference attendees who looked alone and lost–and whom Jo invited to join us. She was always such a warm and down to earth person, and she attracted people like a magnet.

Victoria Cornwall said…
Jo was a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association in England and was the lynch pin for our local monthly lunch meetings in Exeter. When I joined the RNA, Jo was the first person to welcome me and, as we both wrote historical romance, was (and will always remain) an inspiration to me. Despite being in the publishing world for many years, she remained generous with her time, was a calming influence and willingly shared her experience and advice to new and experienced writers. She will be sadly missed by readers, writers and the members of the RNA in England, particularly the members of The Exeter Chapter Group who were proud to be able to call themselves her friends.

JoBev2Barbara Keiler (Judith Arnold) said…
I am picturing Jo dancing at a Harlequin party at one of the RWA national conferences. She's wearing a sexy camisole top and snug black pants, and she's doing flirty, arrogant things with a fan, snapping it open and shut, fluttering it about her face, peering over it seductively. Jo and I roomed together at many RWA conferences, and I would bring her to the Harlequin party as my date, since she wasn't a Harlequin author. We were great roommates–we "rubbed along together quite nicely," as she would say in her plummy British accent. I miss her. I will always miss her.

Mary Balogh said…
Goodness, I can't quite imagine a world without Jo in it. She has been a part of my writing world almost from the beginning of my own career, and other commentators are quite right about her–she was regal, intelligent, eloquent, knowledgable, sensible, funny, and affectionate, with a commanding presence that was never either domineering or ego-driven. I always enjoyed meeting her at various conferences and conventions. She was a fellow-Brit and a fellow-Canadian–and a fellow writer and lover of all things Georgian and Regency. Mary Jo was right in her remarks. Mary, Mary Jo, Jo–it could be confusing for readers, and I too have frequently deflected praise onto the right recipient when readers have gushed over me for books one of the others wrote. It has been such an honor to have shared paths with two such writers for so long, and now one of them is gone. I will miss her and mourn her just as legions of her friends and colleagues and fans will do. Rest in peace, Jo. 

Steve Zacharius (CEO of Kensington Publishing) said…
So sad to learn of this news. Jo was a class act all the way. We were honored at Kensington Publishing to have published some of her wonderful words. Our condolences to her friends and family. 

A Jo, MJP, Wine 2C.H. Admirand said…
My heart and prayers go out to Jo's family and her sister Word Wenches. I have a favorite memory of Jo to share from a Romance Reader Conference years ago in Philadelphia. Jo was walking around with a bottle and stack of Dixie cups…pouring out sips of Port so we'd know what Port tasted like. Jo was generous, gracious and a wonderful author. I am still a fan and really do love a good bottle of Port. She will be greatly missed. 

Alicia Condon (Jo’s Kensington editor) said…
Jo was a great lady and a groundbreaking writer. I feel very privileged to have worked with her for the last five years at Kensington.

One of my fondest memories is working on a complicated interrelated novella collection with the Word Wenches. Once we had all the plots and timelines in THE LAST CHANCE CHRISTMAS BALL straightened out, I suggested that we needed a prologue to set up the premise. Jo and her charmingly autocratic character Lady Holly stepped right up and just a few days later we had exactly the introduction I'd been hoping for.

Jo, I will miss your upbeat emails, your wit and sharing a glass of wine at RWA.

JoBev3Sue from Renfrew said…
I am devastated to learn of Jo's loss. I met her in Ottawa at a writer's meeting. I crashed it just to meet her and pretended to write just to get in! She gave a fascinating talk about motivation and accuracy, both pet peeves at the time. I sat enthralled and told her I was a big fan. She signed my hard cover of Devilish and we had a lovely chat. 
I hope the family gets some comfort from knowing she made many, many people happy and that we mourn with them.

Karin said…
My sincere condolences to Jo's family, and to the other Wenches who I know are feeling a terrible loss. I never met Jo, but I loved reading her posts and comments at this blog over the years, and it makes me feel like I knew her a bit. I will miss her wit and humor, and most of all, her books. I loved everything she wrote, her Malloren world, her Rogues, her Regencies and her medievals. Feeling very sad, but I will dig into my keepers and reread my favorites.

Margaret Evans Porter said…
We began as Walker & Co. authors at about the same times, and were both acquired by Signet. I cannot believe she is gone. Condolences to her family, colleagues, and many fans.
So many conference memories. And of course, the novels. I am comforted in knowing she and Edith are having a delightful chin-wag, reunited in heaven.

Elizabeth Bailey said…
What a shock! Jo was an inspiration to us all, and when she came to the UK, a respected and valued member of the Romantic Novelists' Association. I met her rarely, but heard her often on our author loop where her advice was sage and helpful always. It's clear from this blog and the responses that she will be missed like the dickens.

Loretta Chase said…
Deeply shocked and sorry to hear this sad news. We started our careers at Walker, within months of each other, and met in an elevator (as so often happens) at an RWA conference shortly thereafter. I will certainly miss Jo's thought-provoking questions and comments in the Regency Loop. She was always generous with her knowledge and offered so many practical insights into history. She had a wonderfully balanced way of looking at issues. Also fabulous posture! My condolences to her family and friends.

Jo in RomeBobbi Dumas said…
No words. You know you all are loved, and I hope the love shown here for Jo helps your grief feel a little lighter. Xo

Theo said…
I am stunned. I will truly miss her. We corresponded several times over the years and she was always so gracious and kind. She helped me when I needed it most and will be sorely missed. We're all the richer for having known her. My deepest sympathies to all of you.

Marsha Canham said…
I was completely shocked by the news of her passing. I'd met Jo several times over the years and as fellow Canadians we often talked about the differences in how Americans took to romances vs how Canucks did, and how much more difficult it was to become known and earn respect for our genre north of the 49th. She was one of the ones who accomplished both and her influence, as well as her excellent writings, will be sorely missed.

Margaret said…
Thank you so very much to all who shared such beautiful personal memories. They help those of us who were only lucky enough to love her through her books. I feel like I've lost someone dear to me, so I can't imagine how sad all who knew her well must be feeling. But what an amazing achievement: to have touched so many hundreds of thousands of hearts around the globe. Thank you, Jo.

6a00d8341c84c753ef01bb09052069970dElizabeth Hoyt said…
I am so very, very sorry to hear this. My sympathies to Jo's family and friends. I went to one of Jo's workshops before I was published, eager to hear what wisdom a great historical author might impart. It was about rakes. And, I think, voles. And how rakes (and voles?) might sow their wild oats but when they met The One they committed. I remember Jo standing at a podium, explaining scientific studies in a plumy voice and acting them out with the use of two small stuffed animals.

Julia Quinn said…
I remember exactly when I first met Jo (although she would not remember me!) It was 1994–I had sold my first book in May, joined RWA in June, and was attending my very first RWA conference in July.

I wasn't very widely read in the genre and didn't know any authors beyond the very big names (Garwood, McNaught, Lindsey, etc.) So when I attended the awards ceremony and someone named Jo Beverley won TWO Ritas I thought–I had better read her books.

The next day I attended the Avon open house, where Jo was signing her Rita winner My Lady Notorious. I stood in line and got my book, in which she inscribed, "Great to meet you in NYC. Jo Beverley." I didn't tell her that I had recently signed with Avon, too. I think I was a little too starstruck. I just took the book, thanked her, and said I was very eager to read it.

The funny thing is—I think of that moment so often. When I'm signing books, I have my regular phrases I use, but every now and then I write, "Great to meet you in (insert city)." And every time I do, I think of Jo. Best workshop ever. We will miss her. 

Claire Zion (Jo’s NAL editor) said… 
I was deeply saddened to learn of Jo's passing. She was a wonderful author who created bright worlds in her books that I and her readers loved to visit. I am honored to have worked with her for over a decade, and I will miss her every day.

Connie Hyde said…
I just finished reading her book, The Viscount Needs a Wife. I was searching for her Facebook page when I saw the notice of her death. I feel like I have lost a close friend. She has been one of my favorite authors for many, many years. She will be greatly missed. 

My deepest sympathies and my prayers go out to her family.

109325557.thbJanga said…
I never met Jo, but I have been a faithful reader since I first read Lord Wraybourne’s Betrothed shortly after its release. Jo has been a never-miss author for me ever since, part of my first auto-buy triumvirate of Jo, Mary, and Mary Jo. I learned much from her through her books and through her posts here at Word Wenches. Her Rogues and Mallorens are comfort reads that I have reread so often that I feel at home in those worlds. I read Nicolas Delaney’s toast in An Unwilling Bride every Memorial Day. It will carry a deeper poignance this year.

I also loved writing about her books when I had the opportunity, and I deeply appreciated her gracious comments when I did. I treasure my signed Jo Beverley books, particularly Dangerous Joy which bears a personal message from Jo, an RWA 2015 gift from my friend PJ.

I feel as if I have lost not only a beloved author but also a friend. We are all blessed that her talent and wisdom will live on through her books and her archived posts here. My sincere condolences to her family, her fellow Wenches, and all who loved her.

Janice said…
This is sad news, and no mistake.
I have a quote from a 2007 post of Jo's pinned up on my thinkboard:
"I do think the power of romance novels comes at heart from the way they work with our beliefs about the way men and women (not getting into the gay romance issue here) interact and form healthy mating bonds that potentially last for life. That people can achieve this, even when there are external challenges and personal flaws to be overcome.

Romance novels support a deep belief that this is possible, which it is, and to me at least, that healthy mating bond at the end of the book has to be both equal, trustworthy, and open. That is, equal power balance, no possibility of 
betrayal, and freedom to leave if either of those change."

That in a nutshell is what draws me to romance writing — and it's evidence that the woman knew what she was about. I will miss her presence, but her work stands.

________________________________

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May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon your fields,
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

                        — Irish Blessing

10 thoughts on “Our Heartfelt Thanks”

  1. I don’t general post, and this is very belated, but I read the news about Ms. Beverley after work the other day and cried. Thank you for sharing you lovely talent… Condolences to all her family and friends.

    Reply
  2. I don’t general post, and this is very belated, but I read the news about Ms. Beverley after work the other day and cried. Thank you for sharing you lovely talent… Condolences to all her family and friends.

    Reply
  3. I don’t general post, and this is very belated, but I read the news about Ms. Beverley after work the other day and cried. Thank you for sharing you lovely talent… Condolences to all her family and friends.

    Reply
  4. I don’t general post, and this is very belated, but I read the news about Ms. Beverley after work the other day and cried. Thank you for sharing you lovely talent… Condolences to all her family and friends.

    Reply
  5. I don’t general post, and this is very belated, but I read the news about Ms. Beverley after work the other day and cried. Thank you for sharing you lovely talent… Condolences to all her family and friends.

    Reply

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