True Friends

Many people will walk in and out of your life but only true friends will leave footprints in your heart. Eleanor Roosevelt

Me and BFF

Me and my BFF

We all need friends and there has seldom been a time when we’ve needed them more than we do right now. The pandemic has really shown us the value of true friends – mine have definitely kept me sane throughout the lockdown and without them it would have been easy to sink into lethargy and depression. With the days blurring into one another (my husband has taken to calling every day “Blursday”!), having a weekly FaceTime chat or Zoom meeting to focus on has helped me to stay motivated. After all, when your friends ask you what you’ve been doing, you don’t want to just say ‘vegging out’! And emails from lovely friends lift the spirits no end, not least when you hear that they are safe and well and you can breathe a sigh of relief.

I’m thinking about this today especially because it happens to be the birthday of my very oldest friend – happy birthday G! – not in the sense of her age but the length of time we have known each other. And it’s made me reflect on the huge importance of the kind of friends you can really be yourself with and who probably know you better than you know yourself. Those are truly special.

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Family Ties

Hasselnuss StengeliAndrea here, continuing our daily celebration of the Twelve Days of Christmastide with short posts on the spirit of the season. The holidays have been a bit quiet for me as this year, instead of our usual Christmas Day gathering, my family has been scattered around the globe. In celebration of my niece getting her PhD in English two weeks ago, my older brother and his wife took her to Rome (it had to be that timing because both my niece and SIL are teaching at different universities with different breaks) My younger brother and his family just moved houses in Wyoming and were frantically getting their old place ready for sale . . . And my nephew (the PhD's brother) jetted off to Brazil to be with his fiancee. (Niece and nephew pictured here)

IMG_4996So, I was feeling a little nostalgic with everyone so far away. And then very early on Christmas Eve morning I was awakened by the "beep-beep" of a text coming into my cellphone. Hmmm. I was tempted to ignore it—I'm not big on texting or being a slave to my phone. However, I decided to take a quick look and it's my nephew from Brazil, apologizing for the wake-up call but in need of immediate cookie help! He was surprising his fiancee with a batch of traditional Swiss "hasselnuss stengeli" Christmas cookies and couldn't remember how to make the lemon-sugar glaze.

So off we go on a flurry of texts . . . He has very fond memories of making the cookies with his grandmother (my mother). As do I. (He loves to cook and is very good at it.) The missing piece of the recipe was easy-peasy to send off but for the next little while we were also exchanging funny memories of past holidays . . . like the time my mother's usually well-behaved German Shepherd, who NEVER stole food, walked through the dining room in mid-feast with a huge wedge of Jarlsberg that he had snatched from the low cocktail table in the living room . . . and the time my mother was insisting on taking SO many group pictures of the family that he instigated getting everyone to take their shirts off when she was fiddling with the camera. (She framed that picture.)

IMG_0605Anyway, when it ended, I was laughing aloud and feeling, well, very connected, even though we were very far away. To me it was a perfect vignette of what the spirit of the season is all about. Family, friends, laughter, sharing . . . and though I don't think of devices are a very good way to do that, I was grateful for modern technology letting me connect to a loved one and share a few laughs.

What about you? Were you able to celebrate together with loved ones? Or did you do some long distance connecting too?

What being a Word Wench Means to Us

  Word Wench banner

Nicola here. Today, as part of our Word Wench Blog 10th anniversary celebrations, we’re talking about what makes the Word Wenches such a special group to be a part of. Some of us are founder members of the blog and talk about the reasons it was set up in the first place and the ways in which it has grown and changed. Others, myself included, became Wenches along the way and joined a blog that continues to be dynamic, diverse, and fascinating, and a group of writers who are wonderfully insightful and supportive. Then there are our readers and regular blog commenters. Again, some have been with the blog since the beginning and others have joined in along the way, and together we have created what feels to me to be a special community. That’s my view of the Word Wenches, anyway – here is what my fellow Wenches have to say, plus some photos of Wenches having fun – at conferences, at weddings, with hats and even by the sea!

Pat and AnnePat:

Ten years ago, the Word Wenches came together because our NYC traditional publishers requested that we begin interacting with our readers through social media. For introverted writers accustomed to spending all our days in our writing caves, only coming out to meet readers on special occasions, this was a huge technological and social leap into the unknown. So we banded together and held each other’s hands and took the leap. At that time, in 2006, I was finishing up the Magical Malcolm series, starting on the Rebellious Sons, writing an urban fantasy, and wishing I could publish my satirical mystery. My how time flies!

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Summer’s Splendors

ConeCara/Andrea here . . .Wondering where the summer went!
In the U.S., this Labor Day long weekend traditionally marks the end of the kick-back lazy days of beach reading, country walking and just plain relaxing. As more and more of us are finding life becoming increasingly frenetic, with the demands on our time pressing in from every angle, this interlude where we’re given tacit permission to “turn off” the usual pace is becoming more and more cherished  . . .

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The battle between the sexes

Blue2Hi, Jo here. I was at the British Romantic Novelists Association conference last weekend, which was fun and friendly, but also stirred some interesting ideas.

One speaker talked about how romances are rooted in women's struggles in a man's world. That's true, but it triggered some questions and thoughts about that and historical romance. I'm going to toss them out and I hope you'll argue, expand, spin off them and have fun.

If romance is all about women's struggle in a man's world, then it seems clear that the struggle is more vivid in historicals, where most women in most times and places had far fewer rights, powers, and opportunities than today.  C7371w 'Dark Champion' Avon, front cover

But then, why is the 19th century more popular than earlier ones, such as medieval, when the situation was more dramatically unequal before the law?

(I always think in that cover it looks as if he's doing a push up off her ribs!)

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