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

Aug 232014

In the olden days, an author’s publisher took point on promotion for that author’s books. For the most part, those days are long gone. Today, it is the author who does the bulk of their own promotion. In today’s article, best-selling romance author, Cheryl Bolen, also a former editor and reporter for a community newspaper, explains how authors can write compelling press releases for their local newspapers that will be published. In addition, she also tells us how to submit those press releases. If you can’t afford a publicist, Cheryl gives you a crash course on how you can promote your own books at no cost.

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May 282014

Just a reminder that registration is open for the Beau Monde’s mini conference!

Quick details: The conference will be held Wednesday, July 23rd in San Antonio (kicking off the national RWA conference!). Registration includes breakfast, lunch (featuring our keynote speaker Vicky Dreiling) and delicious treats at the soiree, plus access to six Regency-themed workshops!

For more information (and to register) check out the link here: https://thebeaumonde.com/resources/annual-conference. Early Bird prices available until June 15, 2014. Full conference fees include breakfast, lunch and soiree (available separately).

We hope to see you there!

May 152014

Award-winning Regency romance author, Cheryl Bolen, whose romance novel, A Lady By Chance, is part of the Scandalous Brides boxed set, offers some valuable writing tips. In today’s article, Cheryl shares some secrets from a prolific author on how to avoid those sagging middle sections which can bog down a great story.

Perhaps some of these tips will be just the thing you need to help you liven up the middle part of your book when your enthusiasm for the story begins to flag.

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Dec 312013

This month’s Working on the Web section of the Beau Monde forum features an article which will be of great interest to those researching British history. A web site which is a rich treasure trove of resources on various aspects of the history of the British Isles is reviewed this month. Authors of historical novels set in any period of English history, including the Regency, will certainly want to book mark this site for regular research visits.

This will be the final Working on the Web round-up post at the Beau Monde blog. Beginning in January 2014, posts to the Working on the Web forum will no longer be on a monthly basis, eliminating the need of a round-up post. However, there will still be intermittent posts to that forum for the benefit of our members.

If you are not yet a Beau Monde member, and would like to join us, please visit our Membership page for details.

Nov 302013

Blogging best practices were the focus of the Working on the Web section of the Beau Monde forum this month. This new article explains the value of both categories and tags, as well as the important differences between them. This information will help Beau Monde members who blog better understand how to give their readers the best possible experience in navigating their blog. Readers tend to spend more time at blogs which are easy to navigate, so it is well worth the time and effort to implement these best practices at your blog.

Next month, the Working on the Web forum will feature an article on perhaps the richest treasure trove of British history to be found on the Internet. This site is an invaluable resource for those writing novels set in England during any period of history, including the Regency.

If you are not yet a Beau Monde member, and would like to join us, please visit our Membership page for details.

Nov 152013

Today’s article is a verbal time capsule, courtesy of Cheryl Bolen, award-winning Regency romance author and Beau Monde member. This article was first published in 1999 and in it, Cheryl reflects on the differences between the romance novels published at the end of the last century and those of the 1980s. She also provides some statistics regarding those who were actually reading romance novels at that time. Now, more than a decade after this article was first published, do you think romance novels are even more sophisticated, or have they taken a different path? Has their readership broadened or contracted over the intervening years?

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Oct 312013

In the Working on the Web section of the Beau Monde forum this month an article was posted which offers historical authors suggestions on how they might be able to get access to The Oxford English Dictionary, a crucial tool for writers of historical fiction. Using the OED, an author can quickly determine if any word or compound word they are using in their manuscript is accurate to the period in which their story is set. No one who writes historical fiction will want to be without this valuable resource and this month’s article will provide options on how an author might be able to get access to The Oxford English Dictionary.

The purpose, value and correct use of blog tags will be the subject of next month’s Working on the Web article. If you are a blogger, or planning to become one, you will want to learn how you can use blog tags to your advantage.

If you are not yet a Beau Monde member, and would like to join us, please visit our Membership page for details.

Oct 192013

Many of you may remember the Good Ton web site, though some of you may have known it as The Nonesuch. This site was a rich resource offering details on hundreds of traditional Regencies, including blurbs and reviews. It also offered an extensive Regency lexicon in both dictionary and thesaurus formats, as well as a number of links for further information on the Regency. Sadly, just over a year ago, the Good Ton winked out and disappeared from the web. There were many who were very sorry to see it go.

Recently, I learned that a gentleman who highly values the extensive resources which were available at the Good Ton web site has restored it to the Internet and it is once again available to all who found it so useful. In addition to maintaining the site, he is also planning to continue to add new traditional Regency titles to the listings. This is very good news for all of us who love traditional Regencies. If you have any suggestions for Chris, the new proprietor of the Good Ton web site, you can find his email address at the bottom of the home page.

For those of you who many not be familiar with the many facets of the Good Ton web site, a couple of years ago, I posted a review of it at my blog. I am re-posting it here for your edification.

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Sep 302013

This month’s article in the Working on the Web section of the Beau Monde forum explains the advantages of offering a blogroll at your blog. Though you may hesitate to include links to other blogs at yours, once you read this article you will understand how a blogroll can benefit both you and your readers. If you already have a blog or are thinking of starting one, this article will provide you with important information on why you will want to include a blogroll.

Would you like to have access to the online edition of the Oxford English Dictionary? The OED is a valuable tool for any writer of historical fiction because it allows them to verify whether a word in their manuscript was actually in use during the time in which their story is set. The print version has been discontinued and now all additions and updates go only into the online version. Though an annual subscription to the online OED can be beyond the budget of many writers, there are options for writers to get access. Next month’s Working on the Web article will explain how that can be accomplished.

If you are not yet a Beau Monde member, and would like to join us, please visit our Membership page for details.

Sep 202013

Do you have a home office where you do most of your writing? Do you sometimes wonder how other authors set up their home offices? Then, today, you are in luck. Cheryl Bolen, award-winning Regency romance author, tells us how she has set up her home office. Those of you who are not committed technophiles will find some very clever, but functional, low-tech solutions in Cheryl’s article.

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Aug 312013

The Working on the Web section of the Beau Monde forum this month features an article which will be of special interest to Regency authors, in particular, those who want to know the value of something during the Regency. This article provides an overview of a very powerful online currency conversion calculator which has been developed by a team of economists. This conversion calculator makes it possible to determine the purchasing power of the British pound, and a few other currencies, from the early thirteenth century right up to the present day.

Those who are currently blogging, or are planning to start a blog, will be especially interested in next month’s Working on the web article. It will cover the reasons why including a blog roll on your blog is valuable both for you and for your blog readers.

If you are not yet a Beau Monde member, and would like to join us, please visit our Membership page for details.

Aug 272013

Do you ever spend time with your WIP in a restaurant, or perhaps a coffee shop? Today, Susanna Ives, author of Rakes and Radishes, contemplates that very activity. She not only shares what the experience means to her, but also a photo of a lovely and restful French painting in which a young Victorian lady is reading in a cafe while awaiting the arrival of her meal.

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Jul 312013

An additional recommended firm which builds web sites for authors was added to the Working on the Web section of the Beau Monde forum this month. This new design firm was added to the list of Beau Monde member recommended web designers which was originally posted in May. If you are in need of a new web site, or just a new look for you site, log in to the Working on the Web forum to learn more about the web design firms recommended by our members.

An article on using Google’s Advanced Search page was also posted in the Working on the Web section of the forum this month. There, you can learn how to save time when searching the web by refining your searches to deliver more targeted and relevant search results each time you search.

Next month, the Working on the Web forum will include an article on a very powerful online currency conversion calculator for the British pound which enables you to determine its purchasing power from the Middle Ages to the present. A handy tool for the authors of Regencies, and other historical romance novels.

If you are not yet a Beau Monde member, and would like to join us, please visit our Membership page for details.

Jul 052013

A cross-post from The Regency Redingote:

Or perhaps more precisely, Madmen of Words. If you like to read, you probably like words. I love words, all kinds of words. But I care very much that they are used correctly. When one is writing, the best way to ensure one is using any word correctly is to refer to a reference book for words, such as a dictionary or thesaurus.

In these days of computers and databases, we all take reference materials like dictionaries and thesauri for granted, assuming they are easy to compile and publish. They are, after all, just lists of words, right? However, even in these days of powerful data management technology, the compilation and maintenance of word reference materials is quite demanding and labor-intensive. How much more so was it in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, when all of the work must be done by hand, much of it by candle light. And yet, for three of the major monuments of word reference in the English language, we are indebted to the tenacious efforts of three men who suffered psychological problems, one of them so severe he was actually confined in a mental institution for much of his life. But in spite of their handicaps, they all persevered to produce word references essential to anyone who writes, to this very day.

Just who were these "Madmen of Words?"

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Jun 302013

This month, in the Working on the Web section of the Beau Monde forum, just in time for those authors preparing for the RWA Conference later this summer, members have shared additional sources for promotional materials. These new sources specialize in providing a host of promotional materials for authors and their books, for conferences, book signings and other opportunities for promoting your books. Log in to the Working on the Web forum area to learn more about these recommended promotional vendors.

Another article in the Working on the Web forum explains how to set your personal search preferences when using the Google search engine. In this article, you will learn how you can filter adult content from your search results, if you wish. You will also learn how to manage Google’s search predictions and how to control how many search results are delivered to you on each results page, among other search preferences.

Next month, the Working on the Web forum will include an article on how take advantage of the advanced search features which are offered by Google. With advanced search, you can refine your search to ensure you get the most relevant results possible.

If you are not yet a Beau Monde member, and would like to join us, please visit our Membership page for details.

Jun 152013

In this month’s article, Gaelen Foley, best-selling romance author, concludes her series on the various aspects of writing historical romance novels. In this final article, she responds to a number of questions from aspiring authors at different stages in their career, as well as some of her loyal readers. There is much food for thought here, for first-time authors just planning their first novel to authors with a substantial backlist. As you read Gaelen’s answers to these questions, certainly consider the sagacity of her responses, but also think about how you might answer these same questions yourself.

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May 312013

As promised, the Working on the Web section of the Beau Monde forum offers an article which reviews a selection of web site builder services for authors. The web site services reviewed range from one which is completely free to one which is full service and offers a wide range of marketing services beyond web site building. All of these web site services have been successfully employed by a number of authors, and all of them have been recommended by Beau Monde members. If you are a new author needing a web site, or if you want to refurbish your current web site, you will want to have a look at this new article.

Next month, the Working on the Web forum will offer another review of another anti-virus/firewall software program to help members find the best application to keep them safe while working on the web. In addition, there will be an article on how use the advanced settings in Google.

If you are not yet a Beau Monde member, and would like to join us, please visit our Membership page for details.

May 152013

Last month, Gaelen Foley, best-selling romance author, shared her secrets for getting that first draft of your novel down on paper without driving yourself around the bend. This month, she tackles the other component of her writing technique, revising that first draft. It is during this phase that she describes how you can add layers of richness to your story that would not have been possible the first time through. And for those who are planning to write another novel after this WIP, she shares the secret of why the ending of this book is so important to that next book.

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Apr 302013

This month, the Working on the Web section of the Beau Monde forum offers another article which reviews one of the better firewall/anti-virus software applications for computers running the Windows® operating systems, including XP, Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8. And, even better, all this protection is available for free. Any computer connected to the Internet without both firewall and anti-virus software is a gift to those who would subjugate your machine to their own purposes. Learn how to protect your computer so that you retain control and keep the bad guys out.

Due to circumstances beyond human control, the article on options for authors setting up their own web sites has had to be postponed yet again. Let us hope the third time will be the charm on this one.

If you are not yet a Beau Monde member, and would like to join us, please visit our Membership page for details.