Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Blogging from National, Part 1

Well, Regina and I are here at the Marriott Marquis in Times Square, NYC for the Romance Writers of America’s 31st Annual National Conference. It’s hotter than you-know-what, but honestly, at these conferences you’re so busy that you don’t have to stir out of the air-conditioned building.

This hotel is huge. I mean, really reallyreallyreally huge. It has to be, to house this conference of 2000 attendees…but check this out!

The elevators are in a column running up the center of this huge hollow space, and they’re glass…just a trifle dizzying the first few times you go whizzing up to the 35th floor where we are, but you quickly learn to look at your feet rather than out.

We both arrived Monday night, and after squealing happily at each other (hey, we only get to see each other once a year!) we trundled down to dinner (good food, but oh the NYC sticker shock!), spent a lot of time just yakking, then called it a night, because Tuesday was…

The Beau Monde Conference
Regina and I are both members of the Regency writers chapter of the RWA, called The Beau Monde …in fact, Regina was elected chapter president for the year! Madame President and I arrived in time for a yummy continental breakfast and to help lay out the Silent Auction (an annual fundraiser for the chapter, which features research books and other fun historical and Regency-related items). Then Regina conducted the Annual Meeting, and at last we heard our guest speaker, the much-loved (and deservedly so) Mary Jo Putney.

After that, it was time for workshops! I attended one on traveling and researching in England, given by my friend Jo Ann Ferguson, then a second workshop session on the Battle of Waterloo and visiting Belgium to attend the annual reenactions of the Battle (oh my gosh, wouldn’t that be so cool?) I grabbed lunch with a group of Regency writers before coming back for a session on researching Regency interiors, and learned that there are hundreds of images from Regency magazines like Ackermann’s (where I get most of my Fashion Forecast images) available at the New York Public Library’s website (

After that, it was, of course, time for tea! We feasted on an assorted of tea sandwiches (yes, including cucumber!) and pastries, then went to get ready for the big book signing RWA sponsors each year at National to benefit literacy programs in the host city. Alas, my books didn’t arrive so I couldn’t sign, but Regina was there to sign her June release, The Irresistible Earl.

After that, it was time to get ready for…

The Beau Monde Soiree
After years of attending this event, I decide it was past time I got myself the appropriate togs…so this year, I obtained a Regency gown, with the requisite chemise and corset to wear underneath. The undergarments really are necessary to give the proper lift to the bust in these very high-waisted dresses, which modern brassieres just can’t manage. Aren’t we just a pair?

Plenty of other Beau Monders came in Regency attire as well...and danced to the live music performed by a three piece ensemble and a caller, who led everyone through Regency period dances. Neat, huh?

It's been a great couple of days...look for a further report on our further doings from Regina later in the week.


pie said...

You two look lovely! A Regency-style dance sounds like a lot of fun. It's so much easier to dance (for me, anyway) when someone's telling me what to do. Did you wear the gloves while you were dancing?

Marissa Doyle said...

A lady ALWAYS wears her gloves whilst dancing! :)

And yes, I'm totally with you that it's definitely easier to dance when someone tells me where to put my rather large feet.

Bethany said...

I love to go to what my homeschool group calls "vintage balls." I almost always go in regency attire.

Ladybrinx said...

Great pics, it sounds like so much fun!

Alyssia said...

You guys look great! And you learned Regency dances?? How fun!!

QNPoohBear said...

Wonderful photos and description! I feel like I'm there with you. I wish I could be there in person. NYC is just a bit too far. I hope to visit Brown University later this summer to read some of Jo Ann Ferguson's books. They have a small RI romance writers collection!

Marissa Doyle said...

QNPoohBear, Jo Ann is here--she gave a great workshop to the Beau Monde about doing research travel in England. Have fun!