by Donna Hatch
I just got back from the Romance Writers of America (RWA) National Conference in Dallas. I had a fabulous time. The classes were great, my editor appointment was productive (she asked for the manuscript of my fantasy) and I met some of the nicest people ever. I laughed, I cried, and I came home with a renewed sense of purpose in my writing. I even think I understand the male mind a little better now. And hey, 5 days without having to cook, clean, do laundry or dishes or break up quarrels between children, hasn't been too shabby, either. And that's the first time in years that I've worn a formal gown.
One of the highlights of the RWA conference was the Beau Monde Conference which is an online chapter of RWA specifically for writers of the Georgian and Regency Era. It was held at the same place a day before the other conference began. All the classes were specifically about those time periods such as clothing, servants, etc and were all very helpful. Even though I’ve spent the better part of two years researching the Regency time, I still have much to learn.
My favorite part of the Beau Monde Conference was the soiree, which is a party often including dancing. If you read Regencies, you’ll come across that word frequently. Many of us came in Regency costume and there were some beautiful gowns.
A dance master was there, teaching us about English Regency Country dances. If you’ve ever danced the Virginia Reel, you’ll have an idea of how they are done. I’d expected to just be dancing with the other women, but two came dressed as men in traditional costumes, but the dance master (actually it was a female, so I guess she’d be a dance mistress?) brought with her 10 or 12 men from a local English Country Dancing club. Who’d have thought there’d be such a thing? The men already knew the dances and were very good about making sure everyone who wanted to dance had a chance.
I felt like a princess in my long gown with a train and my hair all done up. As soon as I get my website up and going, I’ll post a picture of it.
The last dance of the night was a waltz. I love to waltz!
I turned to my friend and said, “If I stand by the dance floor and looked pathetic, do you think someone would dance with me?”
She said “Probably. Let’s go. I’ll go with you.”
So I jumped up from my chocolate (yes, I’d rather dance than eat chocolate, go figure), put on my long gloves and went to stand by the dance floor. But it looked like all the men were already on the floor with a partner. On the far side on the floor, one of the men sat at a table eating dessert, so I figured I wasn’t going to waltz after all.
Then my friend nudged me and said, “He’s getting up from the table. He’s coming this way. Ooh, he’s heading right for you!”
It was all very high school. And why she thought he was coming for me when she stood right next to me and could easily have been his intended partner, I’ll never know. But she was right. He did indeed ask me to dance.
It was a little strange to waltz with someone other than my husband, but it was really fun. The men were all very gracious and made it great for all of us. I don’t in any way mean to diminish the amount of knowledge I gained in the RWA classes. I’ll talk more about some of the classes I took in later posts.
Coming back to reality was hard, but it's good to be with my family. I came home to an individually hand-colored welcome banner on the garage door and a lattice of paper streamers and balloons in the entry way.
I feel so fortunate to live in a time when such wonderful information is accessible, and there are so many supportive authors wiling to share their experience and knowledge.
Now I need to get back to my revisions on The Stranger She Married and send them on to my editor at The Wild Rose Press. We're talking about making this a four book deal, so we're tweaking the story just a bit. Off to work!
Believe in Happy Endings