The Saga of the Saucy Wenches



Collage by Olga Daniels.
Once upon a time, from lands far and wide, a group of women came unto the Great Search Engine Google, enthralled by Charlaine Harris’s Southern Vampire Mysteries. They were looking for answers. Looking for like minds. Hoping to talk and learn more about the characters they’d grown to love. And before long, they realized they’d stumbled across a pretty cool little book club.
Well, it didn’t happen exactly like that, but almost.

We’ve mentioned a few times that the Wenches met each other because of the Southern Vampire Mysteries. You might ask yourself, “How did a seemingly inauspicious little book series manage to bring together all these crazy women who babble incessantly about book boyfriends awesome ladies? The short answer is (1) we were obsessed and (2) talented fans who’d come before us had created the SookieVerseBlog, where we all were drawn like moths to the flame....

The release of the final SVM book next month is a poignant moment for us: something we’ve eagerly awaited... yet dreaded, because it means the end of a journey together. So we’ve been reminiscing a little about how we met... and how much fun we’ve had... and how many new books we’ve discovered with each other. Just a few women who had never met in Real Life who liked to talk about books....

For those who are curious, here’s the tale of how we became the Saucy Wenches Book Club.





It began with blood, sex, and vampires


I discovered the SVM books a few episodes into the first season of HBO’s True Blood television series, devoured them at the rate of one a day, and then reread the entire series a month later. (First time I’d ever reread books, much less an entire series.) In January of 2011, I decided to reread them again. It was cold and dreary, the holidays were over, and I was looking to cure a case of cabin fever. It turned out I was looking for the PNR/UF genre, but I didn’t know that then.

I hit the interwebs in search of teasers and maybe the first chapter for the next SVM book, Dead Reckoning, due out in May. I ran across the SookieVerseBlog, which had everything I could possibly want to know about the books or TV series. It was like stumbling across a tantalizing smorgasbord of book, show, and man candy after days of wandering through the desert. I spent weeks reading through the fabulous collection of posts assembled therein: book reviews, recaps, analysis, prediction, snark... exactly what I was looking for! I finally began to venture into the discussion forum and even comment. This was a whole new thing for me — I’ve never been much of a group joiner.

The SVB had oodles of discussion threads, beautifully laid out so we could zero right in on our favorite topics. (Excuse me while the obsessively frustrated household reorganizer in me fangirls over the marvel of organization that blogsite has been. I. Am. Awed. *bows reverently*) Over time I began to “get to know” some of the commenters through their comments. They began to seem like real people, some of our threads evolved into more personal discussions. We discovered mutual obsessions and interests. We found out we had Real Lives, even Real Names (though not as entertaining as VampGirl, LovetheViking, YieldToMe, AlcideGirl, glamored...). We began to realize that, despite living all over the world, we had a lot of things in common, and we could discuss things that we couldn’t discuss with anyone we knew in RL.


See how the focus of my last paragraph changed from “I” to “we”??! That’s just how it happened on the blogsite. One post, one comment at a time, little by little every day, we got used to, and began to look forward to, commenting with each other about our many shared interests. We hung out more and more, and our RL friends and family began to wonder what we’d found that was so fascinating online.


All paths lead to the SookieVerseBlog...eventually


About half of us discovered the books first. The other half started watching the show first, which was supposed to be based on the books. (They lied!!!!!) Most of us found the SVB via Internet search. And once we found it, every one of us fell in love with Tina’s and Serena’s spot-on analysis and MASpencer’s hilarious recaps. 

The man who brought us together...  ;)
Those early days were brimming with excitement! We leered at admired Alexander Skarsgård together — honing our mutual Skarstalking skills to a fine art. (Our “saucy” selves made an early and boisterous appearance!) We analyzed every book (still do) and every episode of True Blood (for a while). We shared speculation and spoilers (carefully herded into separate threads, to protect the innocence of spoiler prudes) and news about future books and episodes. We raved and ranted and fangirled and vented. We dished on other books and television series. Those who already enjoyed PNR/UF shared what they had found, and the rest of us began to discover a new genre full of books that were similar to the SVM.

Guest Wench Natalie once told me she thought of the SVB as a book club where she discovered lots of new books, and I just sort of scratched my head over that for my first few months there, when I was busy trying to absorb all the articles about the SVM and TB. But then I, too, began to get that itch to find other books I might like as well as the SVM. Because, really, you can obsess only so much about them before you start looking for alternative ways to bide your time while you wait for the next book or season. Or at least that’s how it was for me.

All our stories are a little bit different, and yet they’re exactly the same. Even though we live far apart, span several decades, and have completely different professions, we all ended up in the same place at the same time because we all fell in love with Sookie. Or Sookie and Eric and Skarsgård. So I guess you could say that, for us, all Internet paths toward Sookie enlightenment led to the SVB, though some were fairly direct and others were rather twisty.

Wench Anne, a self-described “full blown spoiler whore”, went searching for spoilers on both the show and the books. I stumbled across one of MASpencer’s recaps and then the forum and I was hooked. The recaps, the spoilers, the discussions, I read it all.

Wench Veronica was looking for True Blood recaps and lured in by MASpencer’s: I had an on-again, off-again affair with True Blood, and had reunited with the show in season 4. I felt a little lost, so I started reading the books. And once I found MASpencer’s recaps and the forums on the SVB, I was a goner. I got there just in time for the Great S4 Controversy, and thank goodness I had the support! I’m usually a lurker, but I felt comfortable joining in right away and used the forum for analysis, discussing episodes, Skarstalking, book discussions, non-Sookie book recommendations. It wasn’t long before I felt like I was getting to know some of the regular posters and joining in on the more personal discussions.

The gals at the SVB are awesome.

Wench Donna saw the True Blood pilot and wasn’t that impressed. I had a real issue with Sookie getting the stuffing beat out of her at the end of the episode. A few months later, I gave it another try and noticed in the credits that the show was based on a series of books... I started reading the books and was intrigued enough to start Googling my way around the Web. After reviewing several Sookie sites, I was really impressed with the combination of thought-provoking discussions and ASkars fangirling I found at the SVB. Of course, I lurked around for a few months before I actually joined in. Gradually, I became more vocal, as I found my voice and lost my shyness. I found a bunch of ladies whom I could really relate to. We had similar interests, points of view, and the same excellent taste in books.

Wench Merit was a True Blood fan who found the books when she looked online for more information. And then she found the SVB when she looked for more information about the books. And as she says: you can copy the rest from above.

Wench Zee got a referral! She met a member of the SVB in another group (a VERY very dear friend... for almost three years now, from Iceland!) who encouraged her to check out the SVB. Lurked for a LONG time. But Tina, Serena, and MASpencer were so hilarious and awesome I just had to verbalize my appreciation.

Wench Beta was a book person looking for SVM book talk, but had fun reading the TB talk too. And if I’m not mistaken, she also got a referral, from a family member! She lurked for a long time, but Tina, MASpencer, Serena, and you gals were just such a fun bunch of women that I ended up signing in and participating and checking out the site all the time.

Wench Olga was looking for information about Charlaine Harris’s latest short story and found a post on the SVB: I read that topic and liked it very much. Then I saw that I was not insane and that it was normal to hate Bill and drool over Alexander Skarsgård... And she didn’t lurk: I can’t keep my mouth shut most of the time. I have to say something, voice my inner spo ho, ask questions, and generally have fun participating.

Wench Angela was a True Blood fan who started reading the books midway through season 2: When Eric gave Sookie “the look”... Plus my pining for Askars increased once he didn’t have to wear the wig. I mean, that blue tracksuit... I still need to fan myself when I think about it. From that point I needed more, so I went searching on the Web and came across the SVB.

Wench Kat was searching for articles about the show and the books she had started reading when she came across a post Tina penned that used all of Charlaine’s words describing before, during, and after Sookie fell in love with and ultimately had sex with each vampire. I was instantly hooked. I remember trying to get online on Sunday to read all the awesome commentary, and I would purposely work from home the day that MASpencer would post her recaps so I could read, laugh, cry, and if I was quick enough, comment as well. (You can read those hilarious posts here.)

Head Wench Barb had just read all the books and watched three seasons of True Blood during some well deserved time off and was looking for someone with whom to talk about it all. I went looking on the Internet for MORE. I wasn’t sure exactly what I was looking for, being a huge spoiler prude. I just wanted to talk about it all, and no one in my Real Life was reading or watching. Most had never heard of either the books or the show. I spent a few days just reading everything I could online about either series, when I found some wonderful posts on SVB. The blog led me to the forum, and, like Olga, I cannot lurk. I have to toss in my two cents, so I joined the forum within a week of finding it.


The SVB was officially founded right around the time season 3 of True Blood began. However, it was anticipation for season 4 that spurred some of us to finally find the blogsite. Book 4 was a favorite for all of us, and the buildup to season 4 was a very active time for SVB regulars. We thought of it as a make-or-break season, where Alan Ball and crew could finally get the story back on track. We had many hopes and expectations and dreads, and plenty of like-minded fans to share them with. Unfortunately, the powers that be broke the show that season, IOHO. And much ranting ensued upon the SookieVerseBlog. Over time, some of us began to look for more books to read during the time when we used to be watching, and discussing, and wondering about the next season of the show.

If it ain’t broke, why move to Facebook?


As much as we loved all that discussion, it was a lot to keep up with. There were (seemingly) hundreds of threads to check on the forum. So some of us looked for each other on Facebook and created a group there, for several reasons.

For me, I wanted unspoiled discussions of the PNR/UF books I was discovering. There were wonderful book recommendation threads on the SVB, but the discussions for each book included lots of spoilers. I enjoyed reading about the initial reactions of others and comparing them with mine, but I didn’t want to see them before I read those parts of the books. So I had to wait until I’d finished an entire series to begin reading related discussion threads. In the Facebook group, we found a way to read books together and gush and discuss without spoilers. Sometimes we maintained separate, parallel sets of comments for those reading at different places within a series.

Some Wenches, like Angela, just wanted more of the same discussions we were having on the SVB, then found that we all hit it off especially well and liked hanging out together. Angela speaks for many of us when she says, I just clicked with this fantastic group of women.


Some of us were hoping for more personal interaction. I think several of us felt like Wench Beta: When I saw there was a FB group, I thought that might be even more fun and I might even get to know you guys better, more personally, so I joined and that’s exactly what happened! And here I am having the bestest time with you guys!

For most of us, it was a lot easier to check a Facebook group than a humongous blogsite. And we could check in more often throughout the day, feeding our book addictions more regularly. As Wench Katherine says, that ease of access is all it took for our little book group to take a more central role in our lives: I was so super excited that the FB group opened up, since for me it was easier to access on my phone, and the rest is history. SVB changed my life, as corny as that sounds, because it led me to these wonderfully awesome ladies whom I adore!

Wench Veronica had some very kind words about those of us who migrated over to Facebook: I’d say the folks in the FB group were the same people who made the SVB such a positive experience and that’s why I joined.

After a while, the Facebook group was getting rather large, and as you can imagine, we had varying levels of interest in different subjects we discussed. Some of the gals who were getting heavily into reading books other than the SVM decided to form another group where they could obsess a little more deeply over them. We felt bad about monopolizing the original Facebook group with our endless ravings as we read Night Huntress, Fever, and other fabulous new obsessions for the very first (and second and third) time.

And in time, we wanted to find more people to talk with about these books. We wanted more opinions, new insights, and more recommendations. So Barb asked if anyone wanted to start a book blog, and here we are.

Sparks flew, fireworks exploded, magic happened.

So who are the Wenches?


We’re the gals from the SVB-inspired Facebook discussion groups who volunteered to elaborate on our book commentary by writing blog posts, despite the serious consequence of it possibly horning in on our reading time. Some of the “guest wenches” who post and comment with us are members of our Facebook groups who simply don’t have time to write blog posts, but who still want to talk about books with other fans out there on the Internet. We’re all especially glad to be together right now, because the end of the SVM means that the future of the SVB is unclear. The True Blood content was recently removed (fear not, the Skarsgård topics are still there!), and I think our eyes collectively teared up as we watched a little bit of our shared past disappear from view.

During these last couple of years, many of us have formed very special friendships, every bit as Real as our Real Life® friendships. (Maybe more so, because we know about our Real Lives AND our — uh, formerly — secret Book Lives!) We like to brag to neighbors about knowing people who live in exotic locales where we’ll probably never get to travel, but whom we dream of meeting face to face one day.

Some of us share other hobbies. Some of us have discovered we live nearby and met for lunch or Charlaine Harris book signings. Some of us have personally thanked her for writing the books that brought us together over the Internet with friends from around the world. (She was a little surprised to hear that and probably doesn’t remember. But if she does remember, and ever wonders what happened to that group, here we are!) Some of us have met, or plan to meet one day, on vacations or at fan-related events. And some of us simply wave an occasional hello from afar, knowing our RL paths will never cross, but grateful that technology has allowed us to find each other and transform our mutual Sookie love into a journey of discovery through new realms, with new authors, meeting new characters to love, or love to hate, together.

So now you see, “behind the curtain” of our saucy shenanigans, the real Saucy Wenches. We are still at heart just a bunch of gals who met on the Internet to talk about books. And we’re excited to be able to talk with people who are new to us, who teach us things we hadn’t noticed in the books we love, recommend books we’re going to love that we haven’t read yet, and fangirl with us over stories, characters, authors, and whatever else catches our attention.

So thank you, Saucy Readers, for joining our little group and bringing your own unique points of view! We’re so happy you’re here! And we’d love to know whether a book has ever changed your life the way the SVM changed ours!!

Comments

  1. Aaawww thank you ladies for some awesome discussions and friendship through this fun time.
    Can you believe Zee that it's been 3 years now??? What fun we've had these years. Some day we're gonna meet up and it's going to be epic!! Hopefully soon!
    I may not be happy about Charlaine Harris these days but I never regret reading her books because they led me to you. Love you all xoxoxoxo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So true, Inga! Despite the current debacle, and whatever else happens, I will forever be glad we found each other. And so many wonderful authors and books we have learned about from each other! And all the books that are waiting for us to find them...

      Meeting up would be a dream come true!

      Delete
    2. Yes Inga! THREE years! It's been the best!! And if it weren't for you, I would never have found the rest of the Wenches, so I owe you so much! :* And I WILL be making it to Iceland! SOON!!!

      As much as I never want to hear CH's name again, I will never regret her, or the show, leading me to you guys <3

      Delete

Post a Comment

You Might Want to Read...

Dani Mega O'Malley: Superstar

When The Music's Over

So Many Questions: The Fever Edition

A Tribute to The Fiery Cross

Fangirl Friday: Jensen Ackles