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

Mar 072012

Today’s Featured Beau Monde Author is Deb Marlowe.

Deb Marlowe - Beau Monde headshot

Deb Marlowe

Deb Marlowe adores history, England and Men in Boots.

Clearly she was destined to write Regency Historical Romance.  A member of RWA, the Heart of Carolina RWA and the Beau Monde for nearly 15 years, she’s won the Royal Ascot and the Golden Heart and has been nominated for a Rita.

She sold her first book to Harlequin Historicals in 2006 and her newest, Tall, Dark and Disreputable releases in March 2012.  She is a director of the Raleigh/Durham satellite of Lady Jane’s Salon.

She lives in North Carolina where she spends her days with the people in her head and her evenings with her wonderful husband, her two charming, active and hungry boys and one spoiled cat.

blogging at The Lady Scribes http://ladyscribes.blogspot.com/
Feb 272012

With the entry period for Beau Monde’s Royal Ascot Contest now underway, many of us are polishing our manuscripts and daydreaming about what effect a win might have on our budding writing careers. In today’s article, Cheryl Bolen, award-winning published author of several historical romance novels, records her conversations with a group of Golden Heart award finalists. They share their thoughts on the impact which Golden Heart recognition had on their careers and their success in publishing their books.

Continue reading »

Jan 072012

Unpublished writers: Polish the first 7000 words of those manuscripts! The 2012 Royal Ascot will open for Entries on February 1st, 2012. In the next few weeks, details will be available on our webpage and through MyRWA, but, for now, here are highlights:

This year’s contest will be open to unpublished authors and authors who have not been contracted in book length fiction by RWA PAN definition in the last 5 years. All entries must have at least partial Regency (Late Georgian) setting, broadly defined: within the United Kingdom between 1780 and 1840. No synopsis is necessary!Our categories will be used to assign first round judges to the manuscript types they prefer:

Regency Historical (longer Regency or Mainstream Regency-set)

Hot Regency (Very sensual to Erotic Regency, at author’s discretion)

Wild Regency (Paranormal, Time Travel, other similar Regency)

Sweet & Mild Regency (Traditional, Inspirational, Young Adult or other without explicit sex).

Each entry will be judged by three judges, including at least one published in Regency Romance. The lowest score will be dropped, and the top six entries will move to the final round.

Our Final Round Judges are:


  • Stephany Evans, Fine Print Literary
  • Louise Fury, L Perkins Agency
  • Pam Hopkins, Hopkins Literary Associates


  • Lauren Plude, Hachette Book Group
  • Angela Polidoro, Random House
  • Deb Werksman, Sourcebooks

Besides the February 1st opening, some additional important dates are:

  • Friday April 6th, 2012, midnight PDT: Deadline for all parts of entry
  • Finalists Announced May 25th, 2012
  • Winner(s) will be announced at The Beau Monde Conference

Further details will be announced on the blog and website soon! If you have any questions, feel free to contact this year’s co-coordinators, Sarah Tormey and Wendy La Capra, at royalascotcontest@gmail.com. Thank you!

Mar 282011

With the deadline looming for the Beau Monde’s Royal Ascot Contest, our amazing contest coordinator, Sarah Tormey, talks about  MAKING CONTESTS WORK FOR YOU.

As an aspiring writer, I admit I have caught contest fever from time to time, and was always disappointed when my work did not final. I would stop entering and focus on submitting. After a year of this back and forth, I started to see the similarities between the judges’ comments and my rejection letters. Both pointed out similar flaws or problem areas.

This fall, after four months of spending every waking (and some not so awake moments) caring for my newborn son, I decided to enter a handful of contests to motivate me to keep writing. I needed something to me get back in writing mode and the deadlines helped.

But this time, I tried something different. I submitted one polished work and one first draft. And I also changed what I looked for in a contest. Instead of focusing on the final round judges, I looked for contests that featured trained first round judges (for the best feedback) and a reduced entry fee for subsequent submissions to avoid breaking the bank with contest fees.

Overall, I think my strategy worked. The polished manuscript chapters won one contest and I received a request for a full. In another, the same chapters did not even make the final rounds. But both offered great insights into how I could improve my writing. This was especially true for the first draft chapters.

I decided to enter the beginning of my first contemporary to see if I was on the right track. After all what could be better than a group of strangers sending me their honest opinions? Much to my surprise, I received an honorable mention and a request for a full from the final round judge. Going forward, I plan to submit all my working drafts to contests. The deadlines coupled with the stellar feedback have pushed me to write even on the days when I’ve been up all night with my teething baby.

In fact, I am so grateful for my contest experiences that I decided to return the favor by coordinating the 2011 Royal Ascot.

The Royal Ascot is a contest devoted to the promotion of Regency Romances by encouraging the development of authors who set stories in the Regency Period (and features both trained judges and a lower fee for subsequent entries). If you write Regencies (broadly defined as within the United Kingdom between 1780 and 1840) and are looking for stellar feedback from trained judges, this is the contest to enter. The deadline is April 1st and finalists will be announced the first week in May. If you do not write stories at least partially set in this time period, please help us spread the word to your friends, critique partners and writer’s groups.

For more information, please visit: http://www.thebeaumonde.com/royalascot/.

Sarah Tormey was a Mass Merchandise Sales Representative at Random House. Her job was to sell romances to chain stores like Target, Stop & Shop and Wal-Mart. Sarah is now pursuing her dream of writing romance novels. To read excerpts of her work and her blog, visit .

Posted with permission of the author.

Mar 132011

The 2011 Royal Ascot Contest Deadline is April 1st!

This year, the contest will feature trained first round judges and a panel of Final Round judges including three editors and three agents.

For additional details, visit the website at: http://www.thebeaumonde.com/royalascot/

Final Round Judges Panel include:

  • Selina McLemore, Senior Editor at Grand Central Publishing
  • Jessica Faust, Bookends Literary Agency
  • Kevan Lyon, Marshall Lyon Literary Agency
  • Elizabeth Bistrow, Editor at NAL
  • Deborah Nemeth, Editor at Carina Press
  • Rebecca Strauss, McIntosh & Otis Literary Agency

Contests are a great way to get feedback on a new project as well as get your work in front of an agent or editor.

If you have any questions, email our contest coordinator –royalascotcontest@gmail.com.

Posted with permission of the author.