Today I’m on my way to the Romance Writers of America conference in New York City. As if that were not exciting enough, I’m getting there by car!

Lest you think a road trip from Virginia to NYC via the New Jersey Turnpike is nothing to get excited about, I’m riding with Lavinia Kent, and Julie Halperson, my long-time writing friend. Julie and I hardly ever get to see Lavinia so 4 or more hours to talk will be a super treat.

I’ve spoken to Amanda, who is rapidly recuperating, but must miss the conference, a real bummer, because this year, as Laurel McKee, she is a RITA finalist, for Countess of Scandal. I’m betting you’ll hear from her in her normal Risky time tomorrow.
Because Amanda will have to miss RWA, I thought I’d celebrate several years of us attending the conference, at least the Regency part. The Regency writers chapter of RWA, The Beau Monde, tacks on its own festivities the day before the conference. Each year the Beau Monde holds a Soiree, where many of us dress up in Regency garb. Amanda has stretched this a bit to include other eras, but she is always the best dressed.
Here’s a pic from 2002. Amanda’s dress is inspired by Kate Winslet’s in Titanic
My dress was made by my “modiste” and friend, Helen. It is from an authentic period pattern
Here we are again in 2003. Amanda is dressed as a milk maid, a la Marie Antoinette.

My modiste Helen made this dress for me, too.

This costume of Amanda’s was her best ever! This is the 2008 Beau Monde Soiree.

I didn’t even recognize Amanda at first in this costume. And I was with her when she purchased the hat in Williamsburg.

This is also the only photo I have of all the Riskies (at the time). From L to R, Elena, Cara (who bowed out of the Riskies and Carolyn took her place), me, Amanda, Janet, and Megan.
Someday we must get our current Riskies all in one place for a new photo. Unfortunately, both Elena and Amanda will not be at the conference this year.
And here is Amanda’s dress from last year. It is also the dress on the cover of her RITA finalist, Countess of Scandal.
(L to R in photo: Louisa Cornell, Amanda, Megan, Keira Soleore, Cara Elliott, also a RITA finalist)
I’ll try to get photos from this year’s Soiree, but it won’t be the same. I suspect we’ll have to wait a whole year to see what wonderful confection Amanda has for us next.
On Friday night, between 8 and 10, be thinking about Amanda/Laurel and sending good wishes. That’s the time of the RITA and Golden Heart Awards ceremony. Maybe our good wishes can make Countess of Scandal a winner!
And while you are sending good wishes, consider participating in the auction for LA Banks. Her friends in the Romance community are raising money to help with her medical expenses.