In Praise of the Beau Monde

Diane Report:
Still Working on it!

In my rush to get this manuscript done, I’ve had to dip into some quick research and, as happens in every book, The Beau Monde comes to the rescue.

Usually I have some obscure question to which I can’t find the answer and I email the Beau Monde loop. Boom! the answer comes back within a day. Sometimes my question even spurs a discussion and all kinds of interesting information comes my way.

In The Vanishing Viscountess, I needed to know about coaching routes from Liverpool to Ediburgh and, voila! Delle Jacobs came to the rescue. Anke Fontaine gave me information about how they should care for the horses. Nancy Mayer and Alyssa Fontaine answered all my legal questions, for The Vanishing Viscountess as well as my October release, Scandalizing the Ton. Even Jo Beverley and Gaelen Foley helped!

With this Work-In-Progress I haven’t had questions of the Beau Monde loop, but this week I needed quick answers to some fashion questions. I rediscovered the links compiled by Beau Monde Members (and spearheaded, I believe, by our Risky Friend, Kalen Hughes). This is a gold mine.

I wanted to see a pelisse, because I get pelisses and spencers mixed up and I didn’t want to be wrong. I also had questions about corsets. Beau Monde pointed me to Kalen’s website and her article, How to Undress Your Heroine.

Looking at the category “Clothing,” the Beau Monde site had this Regency Fashion link. I especially liked it because it included the descriptions of the fashions from the period fashion magazines, including a description of a pelisse.

There is so much at the site; it is worth joining the Beau Monde just for that. Beau Monde also offers the Regency Realm, a “continuing compendium of references on Regency England.”

This is annotated bibliography is another treasure. Need to know about the Napoleonic War? There’s a list of dozens of books and other sources, each commented upon by Beau Monde members. My only regret is that even I do not own all these books!

You know another wonderful thing about The Regency Realm? It is compiled by our own Risky Elena Greene!

There’s MORE. The Beau Monde gives a wonderful day-long conference the Weds before RWA each summer, with workshops to die for (e.g. Candice Hern showing her collections ), plus a Tea, a silent auction, and A Regency Soiree after the Literacy Signing. This year the conference is a joint venture with Hearts Through History Romance Writers, and it has a great schedule.

How about it? Are you ready to join yet? Or are you already a member?

If you are a member of Beau Monde, what do you like about it?

(Come visit my website for a Sneak Peek of my October release, Scandalizing the Ton, and enter my new contest.)

About diane

Diane Gaston is the RITA award-winning author of Historical Romance for Harlequin Historical and Mills and Boon, with books that feature the darker side of the Regency. Formerly a mental health social worker, she is happiest now when deep in the psyches of soldiers, rakes and women who don’t always act like ladies.
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Amanda McCabe
14 years ago

Of course I’m a Beau Monde member, and what I like best is meeting other history-geek people like the other Riskies! πŸ™‚ Also, the quick turnaround on emergency research questions is fabulous–there is always someone who is an expert on any aspect of the Regency you can think of, and they’re always willing to share their expertise.

Now, get to writing, Diane!!! LOL

14 years ago

I’ve heard nothing but great things about the Beau Monde. It’s too bad I am writing contemporaries….for now.

Good luck meeting your deadline!

Oh, and thanks for the teaser! Sounds delicious but then all your books do!

Cara King
14 years ago

I agree — quick help with obscure research questions is one of my favorite parts of the Beau Monde.

I recall once writing that a character smelled a bit like mothballs, and then thinking “did they have mothballs?” A cursory search of my books & the net didn’t help me much, and I wasn’t even sure what sort of book would have that info (costume? Science?) but one question on the Beau Monde link, and I right away got my question answered, with detail!

And for folks who aren’t as advanced in their research, the Regency Realm is a great resource showing them where to start (and which sources are reliable.) Of course, the Realm is also fab for experienced researchers!

And then of course, I also love the people…wonderful, warm, witty writers.

BTW, I’ll be teaching Regency card games at the soiree again this year — so if you want to be a card sharp, just stop by my table! πŸ˜‰


Kalen Hughes
14 years ago

I use the Regency Realm as a source for ILL! I made a big list of books I might want to own and requested them all via my local library (3 or 4 at a time over about a year). Some of them I ended up buying copies of, others I was happy to skim once, and some of them were happily weeded out of my humongous TBR research pile with just a quick gloss-over.

BTW: Spender is short, Pelisse is long. Easy speezy. Although a pelisse may also be a type of gown . . . just to confuse the matter. *grin*

Diane Gaston
14 years ago

Thank you, Kalen, you expert on all things of fashion especially undergarments you!

Someday we must count our research books and see who has more. Then we can compete in earnest!

I, of course, should have mentioned that I met the other Riskies through The Beau Monde, except for Janet who I knew first as a WRW member and a Wet Noodler. Amanda became my Beau Monde Mentor years ago. The absolute BEST part of The Beau Monde are the other members!!!

Keira Soleore
14 years ago

As I noted in Ammanda’s message below, I’m back from vacationing in the wilds of North Carolina.

Diane, got your newsletter. Advertised your exciting news about StT on my Facebook.

Ammanda, admit you like the Beau Monde because you have this ready sets of ears to discuss about dressing up. πŸ™‚

Ammanda, so glad to know you’re safe and sound. Blast those tornadoes!!

Diane, all the best with finishing up your WIP. Deadlines are terrible evil things, necessary, but evil nevertheless. And you’ve been so good about writing steadily. I’m sending you cyber hugs and a text message.

Diane Gaston
14 years ago

Glad you are home safe and sound. We’ve MISSED you!

Keira Soleore
14 years ago

I *had* to share this. Riskies, I have TALKED with the greatest, the best, the only *Diane*. wow!


Diane Gaston
14 years ago

Gee, Keira, most people think, “Oh, not Diane on the phone again.”

14 years ago

Keira, you lucky thing! You have actually spoken with the Divine Ms. G! I have a message from her on my answering machine. Does that count? Yes, O Divine One, the message is still on the machine, along with my RWA Conference scholarship phone call, my Daphne final call, and my request for a full call. God help anyone who erases those messages!

I absolutely love Beau Monde in spite of the fact that the ladies there consistently put a dent in my non-existent bank account. I am constantly adding to the Wish List of my research books thanks to the lovely patronesses of Beau Monde.

I am constantly cutting and pasting information from Beau Monde posts for future reference. And all of the reference materials on the site are amazing.

I think the best part is having a place where you can feel completely at home in your obsession with the Regency. Even if you still feel like you are nuts, you are not nuts alone! Everyone is so helpful, encouraging and commiserating. You just can’t beat that in this business!

Elena Greene
14 years ago

I love the Beau Monde too, for all the same reasons: the research, the shared obsessions and especially the friends I’ve made.

And thanks for the kind words about the Regency Realm, Diane! I have learned so much from working on it and regularly use it to come up with library and bookstore lists. Glad to hear others find it useful, too! πŸ™‚

Mallory Pickerloy
14 years ago

Diane, I hope all goes well with your WIP!!

I admit to not being a member of any groups. Being I don’t write Regencies. I don’t know where I’d fit in. But I do Love ‘reading’ Regencies. And learning on Regency History. πŸ™‚

I checked out your newest updates on your site. (For some reason my newsletters haven’t been coming in, though I signed up.) I wanted to say it was exciting to read the excerpt for Scandalizing the Ton. Very catching!

14 years ago

Well, I’ve been to the Beau Monde Soiree in the past, and a good time was had by all. πŸ™‚ But just remember: if you play cards with Cara, leave the bulk of your money at home.