12 YEARS! REALLY!!!

Books&cup3Happy Anniversary to the Word Wenches!

by Mary Jo

This is the 12th anniversary of the Word Wenches!  I hope you joined Anne's celebration tea party on Monday.  (The cakes and tea cups were splendid!)

Today, we continue the celebrations with reminiscences and book giveaways. 12 years is a long time, and in the way publishing has changed, it's eons.

Back in 2006, blogs were the Hot New Thing. Authors wanted to be able to reach readers, interact with them, and sell books. But it seemed like so much work! Surely better to put together a group and take turns?

The idea was sparked when Susan King and I had lunch with Eileen Buckholtz, a web goddess and friend. We decided to ask a few friends if they'd like to join with us, and to my surprise, everyone we asked said yes, even the most extreme of introverts. Turns out we all wanted to chat, interact, and sell books.

Stolen MagicBlogging seemed very mysterious at the beginning, but we eventually figured it out. (Regency writer Candice Hern was a great help since she was already an experienced blogger and has fabulous collections on her web site.) Our first post was on May 22nd, 2006, and we're still standing after all those years. <G>

Much has changed over the years as we've lost some Wenches, and acquired wonderful new ones who bring their own special stories and talents. As the writing world has changed, some of us have moved in different directions like mainstream historicals, mysteries, and paranormals.

ADistantMagicIn 2006, I was in my paranormal historical phase. I love fantasy, so I loved blending magic with real history and romance. In 2006, Stolen Magic, Book 2 of my Guardian Trilogy, was published, and I was working on Book 3, A Distant Magic. I wrote seven paranormal historicals all together, 4 adult and 3 young adult, but a year later I moved back into more traditional historical romance because in this business, things are always changing.

As one of the original Wenches, I figure I've written over 300 blogs. (!!!) But I like doing these short pieces about all sorts of topics, I love interacting with readers, and most of all, I love hanging out with my wonderfully talented, good-natured fellow Wenches. Good times, then and now!

 

 

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The Word Wenches’ 10th Anniversary Celebration!

by Mary Jo

Can you believe it?  Today is the 10th anniversary of this blog–that's 597 years in internet time, you know. <G>  The world has changed, publishing has changed, we've all changed–yet here we are, still musing about romance and history, interviewing interesting guests, and inviting you all to join in the conversation!

LCCBThe idea for a historical romance writers' blog was sparked when Susan King and I were having lunch with Eileen Buckholtz, our friend and web wizard, and she suggested that since we were interested in blogging, a group blog was the way to go: more content, less work. <G>  This sounded like a fine idea to us, so Susan and I listed people we'd love to have join us.  To my surprise, everyone we asked agreed, and a blog was born.  Sherrie Holmes, our first site manager and cat herder, came up with the name Word Wenches, which we all loved, and here we are, ten years later.  

I believe we're the only romance blog to have published two Christmas anthologies, Mischief and Mistletoe and The Last Chance Christmas Ball, both with Kensington. Both were great fun to write. 

To celebrate this anniversary, we decided to invite back a few former guests to muse or reminisce with us.  Because we received such thoughtful responses, we'll be posting every day this week, with Friday being wrap up comments from all of us Wenches.  

And because we love giving books away, we'll be doing eight giveaways to eight lucky commenters from our Anniversary Week celebration.  (Winners to be chosen by the end of May.) Let the celebration begin! 

Candice.best_newOur first guest: Candice Hern, one of the old gang of Signet Regency writers where so many Regency writers started our writing careers.  Candice is not only a fine writer who has one of the best Regency websites anywhere, but because she was already an experienced blogger, she was extremely helpful when we started our own blog.  Thank you, Candice!  

Congratulations, Word Wenches, on your first TEN YEARS!

Quite a milestone on the internet. Not many group blogs survive that long. I have been reading your blog since Day 1 and continue to do so. I always learn something new, especially when one of you dives into an historical research topic. I love the diversity of the group, both in your books and your blog posts. (And I still miss Edith.) Here's wishing you all another ten years of entertaining and educating those of us who love historical romance. Way to go, ladies!

Next up: Mary Balogh. A romance star ever since her first Signet Regency was published a lot of years ago, Mary offers these insights:

Where Romance is going:

Romance is going in whatever direction the imaginations of romance writers take Maryonlybelovedit—or should I say directions? In the past several years we have seen it explode into innumerable sub-genres and trends, some of them enduring, some not.

I decided almost as soon as I started writing more than thirty years ago (ouch!) that I would no longer read romance or take any notice of trends or jump on any bandwagons. I cheat (a lot) on that first decision, but even so I would say that 90% of my reading is non-romance. So who am I to talk about where romance is going? I will continue to follow my own imagination for as long as I am willing and able and as long as I still have readers.

One thing that has pleased me greatly this month of May is the almost overwhelmingly positive response I have had to my new book, Only Beloved, the final book of the Survivors’ Club series. MaryonceupondreamThe hero is 48, the heroine 39. I held my breath as the publication day dawned. But readers had no objection to the older characters.

The same thing happened with the novella that came out with one of Grace Burrowes’s in Once Upon a Dream in April. The hero and heroine are both 40 or close to it. With so many aging authors still writing (ahem) and so many aging readers still reading, maybe this is one direction I will take more often in the future. Love, even romantic love, is not an exclusive preserve of the young, after all, is it?

And on the subject of the passing of time…congratulations Word Wenches for keeping your really excellent and intelligent blog site going for ten years. That is a remarkable achievement. May you continue for at least ten more.

To wrap up today's posting, Carola Dunn joins us.  She started out writing Walker Regencies, which were the first such romances I discovered in the library when I began to look beyond my well worn Georgette Heyers.  She moved from Regency romance into historical mysteries–I've been obsessively following her 1920's set Daisy Dalrymple series for years–and like Mary Balogh, she has some thoughts about older characters.

SuperfluousWomenPass Time with Good Company

I wrote my first Regency 37 years ago (Toblethorpe Manor, published 1981) and followed it with 31 more, as well as a bunch of novellas. As in most romances, the heroines were almost all youthful—even the oldest, at 42, seems youthful from my present age! When I started writing mysteries, I made my amateur sleuth, Daisy Dalrymple, 25. For reasons I won’t go into, over the course of 23 books she’s aged by only 5 years.

A decade ago, after turning 60, I decided I wanted a protagonist nearer my own Carola,MannafromHades
age. That was the genesis of Eleanor Trewynn, the main character of my Cornish mysteries. For many years, she and Daisy have been living in my head. Luckily, I find them excellent company. It’s gratifying to hear from so many readers that they too think of Daisy and Eleanor as good friends they want to spend more time with.

Thank you, Candice, Mary,  and Carola!  You've all created wonderful characters we want to spend more time with.  (And you're all on my personal keeper shelves.)  

Visit Word Wenches again tomorrow, when the inimitable Eloisa James and Lauren Willig will share their thoughts on romance! And remember, commenters might win books, and what reader doesn't love winning books?

Mary Jo