Sandy Blair

A lot of you know the Banditas are good friends, not just here on the blog, but we love to chat privately, tease each other on twitter, hang out on FB together…and the the ultimate…see each other at conferences or plotting weekends. If we fly in to each other’s hometowns, a planned get together is a MUST!


Jane Graves

When I moved to Texas and joined my local RWA chapter I met 9 women who have become very dear friends to me. Y’all have met each one of them here on the blog. (Sandy Blair, Jo Davis, Jane Graves, Lorraine Heath, Allie Burton, Addison Fox, Julie Benson, Tracy Garrett and Kay Thomas.) Over the years a few of them have moved away, but thanks to the internet, we still talk and share our lives on a regular basis.


Addison Fox

Julie Benson

Julie Benson

Tonight, my dearest friend and critique partner, Sandy Blair, was in town so those of us still living her got together at another friend, Jane Graves’ house for drink, dinner and dialogue. (Okay, we drank, ate and gabbed to each other and over each other!)

We hugged, with the required girlfriend squeals, opened a few bottles of wine, (Jane had White Zin just for me. I’m the blush drinker of the bunch.) We had delicious appetizers while we caught up on family, grandbabies, husbands, and adult parents. (Yes, Mom, you came up, but mostly how proud I am of you for thinking of your safety and buying a stair-less house!)


Jo Davis/JD Tyler


Kay Thomas

Since we’re all published authors, the conversation drifted into the publishing industry for a while. The affects of Indie publishing on the traditional publishers, changes in ebooks over print, royalties, promo. You know business kinds of talk. We had a wonderful Mexican enchilada dinner at Jane’s circular table, which allowed us to have a great time sharing anecdotes, laughter and more than one off-collar comment! 😉

Books were discussed. The ones we’re writing, the ones we’ve read. Controversial ones (Gone Girl), much loved ones (Outlander). Even outrageous titles and concepts! Seperated by miles and oftentimes weeks or months, when we get together it’s like just yesterday we were hanging out together.

Funnily, it’s the same when any of the Bandits get together. Spontaneous laughter, chatter, hugging and of course friendship!!

**My phone died, or I’d have pictures from our get together. Instead I’ve added the pictures of everyone who was there tonight.**

So, do you have any girlfriends like this? Is it one best friend? Or do you gather in small groups? Do you crave those times together? Do you carve out time from your schedule to spent time with those friends to lift your spirits?




  • Jane says:

    I have a few great friends that I try to hang out with as much as possible, but two of them live in different states and I rarely get to see them. I do spend a lot of time talking to all my best friends on the phone.

    • Jane,

      When Sandy moved to the other side of the country…I was at a loss for a while. Had I not had the phone and internet to chat with her, I probably would’ve been very, very depressed!

      No wonder women back in the old days wrote long, long letters to their friends!!

  • flchen1 says:

    I’m blessed to have a group of great friends–whether we meet one on one or have the chance to all gather, it’s always a blissful, blessed, joyful time together! Girlfriends are a gift like no other!

    • Fedora,

      I agree a gathering of girlfriends is like nothing else! Especially if they all have something in common, like we do our writing. I imagine that’s why old fashioned quilting bees were so big among women who lived out in the country.

  • Helen says:


    Isn’t it wonderful when you cna get together with friends I have a romance reader lunch once a month and I really look forward to that we talk about books and tiles and all sorts of things and this last weekend 9 off us got together and went away for the weekend to a beautiful place called Jenolan Caves and what a great time we had we played romance trivia games and guess the author games where there were older photots of authors and with clues that are paid for in lollies and chocolates we get to guess their names and the winner takes the pot of goodies 🙂 and then of course I have my bestie Barbara who I can pop down the street and have a cuppa anytime with 🙂

    Glad you had a great time

    Have Fun

    • Helen,

      I know you love your reader’s luncheon. *I’ve seen the pictures!* 🙂 Again, it’s amazing how we pull such close friends from people we meet with similar interests, isn’t it? And going away on a retreat with them? Even better!!

      Love the Romance author game. Sounds like it was a hoot!

  • Shannon says:

    Right now, I’m one of four women who get together almost every Sunday for a movie and dinner. We’re all anxiously awaiting 7 November for the Stephen Hawkings film. It looks like it has strong romantic elements.

    They’re part of a larger group that is known as the pool ladies or “Girl Scouts” who hang out at the Plaza pool.

    As far as old friends, I seem to keep one per location. That’s not quite correct, there’s one group that I can round up quickly if I go to my old hometown. I just haven’t done that in a while. Perhaps researching the next craft fair and make it a weekend.

    • Shannon,

      I love the sound a group of friends who go to movies together. Jo Davis and I often make our monthly lunch around a good movie, heavy on the sci-fi hero side!

      And I too, tend to have a good friend where ever I land. In fact, I’m heading home to visit my mom this week and I’ll get together with high school girlfriends, my sister and also have lunch with our own Bandita Donna!!

  • Debbie Oxier says:

    Have one close friend I have known all my life. Even though we live 50 miles apart we get together when we can, talk on the phone and text. If we haven’t talked for awhile, as soon as we do its like we’ve never been apart. When my brother died unexpectedly, she was on vacation. I called to tell her and couldn’t get through. She told her husband that I wouldn’t have called on vacation unless something was wrong. She drove for thirty minutes just to get a signal on her phone so she could call me. That’s the type of friend she is and always has been. You don’t find people like that very often so cherish them when you do.

    • Debbie,

      That’s wonderful to have such a friend so close she knows when you really, really need to talk to her! Sandy is that kind of friend for me and we’re separated by thousands of miles! Put us in a room together and it’s like we haven’t been apart five minutes. 🙂

  • Joan Kayse says:

    Well GIRLFRIEND, I totally agree!

    I’m blessed to have local, national and international girls to love and chat and cry and whine and…even if it is chocolate with. I love going to RWA every year but what gets me MOST excited in seeing you and Susan and so many others. It’s almost like a pull to seek you out and hang out! Sigh…wish the budget would get me to TX and MN….Love ya!

    • Oh, Joan, I wish you were closer to Columbus! We could get together while I’m home visiting this weekend!! I have to confess that going to the National conference is mostly to see you and the other Banditas, too. You know…we could all fly to Chicago for a weekend sometime! 🙂 🙂 🙂

  • catslady says:

    I have different groups of women who are friends but one best one. We met when our daughters were in girl scouts. We did lots of things together as the four of us but although our daughters grew apart, us moms still do lots of things together. She still works a full-time job which does limit what we can do but we always make time for each other!

    • See, Catslady!

      That’s what I mean. When we connect with that friend, we hold them dear, no matter if time, distance or life changing around us gets in the way. She sounds lovely!!

  • Suz, I can imagine you had a wonderful time with the girl. It’s such fun to get together with our writing mates, isn’t it? It’s far too long since I’ve seen the Banditas face to face – although as you say, we’re constantly in contact via email. At this stage, I’m planning on San Diego in 2016 so start filling your piggybanks, Banditas. We’re due for a reunion!

    • Anna, our writing friends connect with us in a unique way. Could be the wine, the chocolate consumed or perhaps it’s the knowledge that there are other people in the world who have imaginary characters talking to them! 😀

      AND yes, it has been waaayyyy too long since we got together! 2016 it is…although I’m hoping to make NYC in 2015.

    • Caren Crane says:

      Anna, I will be hoarding cash and points on my credit card to make San Diego! I can’t wait to see you. I just can’t let you come over and NOT see you! Also, still working on getting to Australia one of these days. Only two years until the baby finishes college. Woot! 😀

  • Becke says:

    Girl time is a necessity. I have one childhood friend I stay in touch with and then special friends that remain throughout the years. Most are writers but others are just great buds.

    That’s the best thing about conference–time to catch up.

    • Hey Becke!

      You are so right Girlfriend time is a necessity. Some things that we almost shorthand to each other and spontaneously start giggling over, men just never, ever get!

  • We belongto a group of couples that I’ve seen every couple of months for the last thirty years. One of the ladies has passed away. She was part of a couple that divorced, and included who could attend the group dinners and when in their divorce agreement! I saw everyone the other night when we watched OSU beat Penn State.

    But one of the things I love about writing is that I have friends with a common passion all over the globe. Love my banditas (and I’ll be in San Diego in 2016, Anna), love the ladies in my goal-setting group and my historical writers group – which has members in a couple of different states. I think romance writers and readers are the most friendly, the most passionate, the most caring and generous people there are. I rejoice when I get to see them.

    Sounds like your dinner was a lot of fun, Suz.

  • Caren Crane says:

    My girlfriends are the very best. My writer girlfriends – Banditas included! – are extra special. I will do some serious schedule-juggling to see my girlfriends, especially en masse. Why see one when you can see 4 or 8 or 12? 🙂

    I do love to see my two best non-writer friends in a pack, as well. All the stories and gossip and giggles are better when shared! That’s probably a leftover from being from a big family, but I much prefer at least 3 people in a conversation! 😀

    • LOL Caren, I’m cracking up at the “at least 3 people in a conversation!” You would so fit in at our family dinners!

      My mother once asked me how I knew which child to listen to when all 3 talked at once. I told her, I usually listened to all 3 at once. 🙂 They were talkers, especially the oldest and youngest!

  • Sandy Blair says:

    I had a fabulous time as well, Suzy!! So happy to spend time with so many of you again. And my heartfelt thanks to our fabulous hostess Jane. The woman is not only a great author but a great cook!! Hugs to all!!!

  • Amy Conley says:

    I have,2 special gfs like this, but for some reaskn they don’t mix. I seem to be with one or the other. One has bee. My friend for 40 long years and lots of firsts. The other one for 37 year.