Jul 232016
 

Each year on the day before National conference begins, many members of the Beau Monde chapter of RWA® gather for a day filled with Regency workshops and after the Literacy Signing they reconvene for our annual Soirée. This year’s gathering included breakfast and time to mingle and check-in for the conference, followed by the Annual General Meeting with the usual various committee reports and the changing over of the board. Thank you to the 2015-2016 Board and Committee members for all your hard work but especially our conference chair Janna MacGregor, catering wrangler Sharon Sobel, and workshop coordinator Isobel Carr for doing such a fantastic jobs in organizing the event for us!

The Morning Sessions

A photo of the Jo Bevereley tribute at the 2016 Beau Monde mini-conference. The screen reads, "Remembering Jo Beverley (1947-2016)."

Remembering Jo Beverley (1947-2016)

We had a very special tribute to former Beau Monde member, Jo Beverley who lost her bout with cancer at the end of May this year.

Photo of Diana Belchase paying tribute to Jo Beverley.

Diana Belchase shared what is thought to be the last video interview with former Beau Monde member Jo Beverley.

Member Diana Belchase, had filmed an interview with the author for her TV show BookSmart and was gracious enough to share the unaired footage with the chapter members present. Jo’s wit, grace and perspective, not to mention her love of historical romance, shone through during the interview and are just a small part of why she and her wonderful books will be long remembered.

We spent the rest of the morning learning about Spies and Codes with Patricia Coleman, Regency Era Titles with Ella Quinn and The Education and Training of Medical Professionals in the Regency Era with Georgie Lee.

Our Keynote Address

After lunch, Jade Lee gave our keynote speech. If you know Jade, she’s funny and always cracking jokes. She did that. But she was also fiercely serious about how writing is also an ART, not just a craft and business.

Keynote Speaker, Jade Lee

Keynote Speaker, Jade Lee

Jade pointed out that the RWA National Workshop list included around 54 Craft/Research sessions, 65 Career Track topics and another 16 on Writer’s Life/Block/Depression. She told us she was going to talk about the one thing that never gets discussed– the ART of writing. Commercial Fiction — not literary. Every book has a core message in it. Not just the basics of genre or tropes, every book has a deeper more personal message. At its core, your book has a message that YOU need to hear.

“Art has us look at issues we are dealing with in our real life and look at them in a new way.” But digging in your soul is hard to do. Theme is one way as writers and even readers we do this. Look closer at your books and see what you keep coming back to again and again. Think about the last book you read that touched your heart and why?

She recently read Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art. Did you know Hitler wanted to be an artist but resistance beat him? It was easier for him to start World War II than to face a blank canvas. “Don’t start WW3, face that dark and awful blank page instead!” She urged us to tell that story that your soul is crying out for. Someone else out there needs to hear it too. Please, she begged us, go forth and write those stories. Because we are all artists in the truest, most beautiful sense of the word.

The Afternoon Sessions

The rest of the afternoon was spent in more workshops where Louisa Cornell helped us navigate the Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Regency World both in terms of what was known/thought of mental illness at the time and various places where and ways in which people were ‘treated’ for their madness. Then, we charted a course in The Age of Sail with Alice Eakes and learned all about ships, different types of sails, and other nautical terms to use in our stories.

A special treat was the extended Q&A session on The State of the Regency Romance with Sarah Wendell – SBTB, Leah HultenschmidtGrand Central Publishing, Theresa Romain – Author, and Kevan Lyon – Marsal Lyon Literary Agency on the panel. The afternoon concluded with a look at The Grand Tour with Cheryl Bolen before we took a break for dinner and the Literacy Signing.

Photo of Kevan Lyon and Theresa Romain

Kevan Lyon and Theresa Romain

Photo of Leah Hultenschmidt and Sarah Wendell

Leah Hultenschmidt and Sarah Wendell

All sessions were recorded and they will soon be made available for purchase by members.

Our Annual Soirée

That evening, the soirée was quite an elegant affair. Cara King was our dance mistress for the evening and taught a variety of country dances including a Scottish Reel. Not all of the attendees dressed in their Regency Era finery, but the many who did looked absolutely wonderful, and a fabulous time was had by all.

Photo of 8 people in Regency costume at the 2016 Beau Monde Soirée.

You might recognize these Beau Monde members from the Regency Era report with Sarah MacLean during the Rita/GH ceremony on Saturday night.

Photo of Sir Reginald Scott, Lady Elena Greene and Lady Cara King at the 2016 Beau Monde Soirée.

Sir Reginald Scott, Lady Elena Greene and Lady Cara King at the 2016 Beau Monde Soirée.

Photo of Alanna Lucas, Alina K. Field and Ann Cleeland, dressed as a highwayman.

This dashing highwayman made an appearance at the Soiree! Perhaps Sir Reginald had some competition?

Photo of Erica Ridley (left) an Emma Locke (Right) in their Regency finery.

Erica Ridley (left) an Emma Locke (Right) in their Regency finery.

Photo of Regency Dancing at the Soirée.

Learning a Country Dance

Photo of the Beau Monde Soirée as the dancers learn a Scottish Reel.

Learning a Scottish Reel

Awards and Congratulations to Beau Monde Members

Photo of President Karen Dobbins presenting Cheryl Bolen with the 2016 Lady of the Realm award.

Cheryl Bolen received the distinction as our 2016 Lady of the Realm. Thank you for all that you do for the chapter, Cheryl!

Photo of Elizabeth King winning the Grand Prize for the Royal Ascot writing contest with her manuscript TAMING THE EARL.

Elizabeth King won the Grand Prize in the 2016 Royal Ascot with her manuscript, TAMING THE EARL.

Rita Inspirational Romance Winner:
A Noble MasqueradePhoto of Kristi Ann Hunter A Noble Masquerade by Kristi Ann Hunter
Baker Publishing Group, Bethany House
Raela Schoenherr, editor
Golden Heart Historical Winner:
Photo of Elizabeth King “The Earl and the Pussycat” by Elizabeth King

Jul 202016
 

This post originally appeared on Lillian Marek’s blog Tales of Romance and Adventure on March 24, 2015. Reposted with permission from the author.


A Romantic Tale and a Screwball Comedy

In the early 19th century there were four Tree sisters, all of whom went on the stage. (If there were three of them, one could probably create a nice tongue twister, but there were four.) Ellen Tree, who married the noted actor Charles Kean, was the only one who remained in the theater, performing with her husband as Mrs. Charles Kean until his death.

The other three all retired from the stage when they married, and it is only Maria Tree who seems to have left much of an impression. In Our Actresses: or Glances at Stage Favourites Past and Present (1844), Mrs. C. Baron-Wilson comments on Maria’s “simplicity and blameless life … in contrast with many of her sisters in the profession.”

Mrs. Baron-Wilson notes that there was a romantic story attached to Maria’s courtship, but declines to give it. I don’t know why. It’s a charming story as recounted by Captain Gronow in his Reminiscences. Charming, and also very much in the Screwball Comedy tradition. Continue reading »

Jul 132016
 

This post originally appeared on Sheri Cobb South‘s blog on January 6, 2014. Reposted with permission from the author.


Patrick Colquhoun, London magistrate

Painting of Patrick ColquhounSome of my favorite comments from readers regarding the John Pickett mystery series concern the father-son relationship of Pickett and his magistrate, and how much the reader enjoys it. In fact, of the questions I’m asked most frequently about the series (aside from the obvious ones about if, when, and/or how Pickett and Lady Fieldhurst will ever get together), several concern the character of Pickett’s magistrate, Patrick Colquhoun. Readers want to know how his name is pronounced, and why I chose to give a character such a difficult name. To answer the first question, according to Debrett’s Correct Form, the name is pronounced “Ca-HOON,” at least in the United Kingdom.

As for the second question, Continue reading »

Jul 062016
 

This post originally appeared on Anna Bradley‘s blog on November 23, 2014. Reposted with permission from the author.


Historical Romance and the English Country Home

Montisfont Abbey, Hampshire, England.

Montisfont Abbey, Hampshire, England

Rolling greens lawns, formal gardens and sultry conservatories—is it any wonder so many Regency romance novelists choose the English country house as the backdrop for their love story? There are few settings more romantic, and, given the strict rules of propriety between gentlemen and ladies in Regency England, even fewer where a hero and heroine can pursue their lusts and loves with such freedom.

It’s tempting to believe, Continue reading »