Monday, October 18, 2010

Historical Day

I have to confess that I rarely attend my local RWA chapter--Washington Romance Writers--monthly meetings. Life just seems to get in the way. I was sorely tempted by WRW's Historical Day, but it was in Virginia...across the Potomac. Inertia had me in its grip until the lovely Michelle Willingham emailed me to see if I was attending. Turns out she was going to be on my side of the river and would give me a ride. Hooray.

Michelle picked me up at 8:30 am and we chatted about publishing, traveling, and kids as she followed her GPS's rather circuitous and puzzling directions to Alexandria. We arrived early, so had time to browse the local outdoor market. Michelle suggested we stop in the neighborhood Books-A-Million and I was thrilled to see they had two Naked Viscounts and a Naked Baron on the shelves. I signed the books--Michelle provided the "autographed copy" stickers--and we still had time to grab a cup of coffee before Historical Day began.

Our first speaker was a fencing expert who brought examples of historical and modern sabres, epees (rapiers), and foils (court swords or short swords). Third son was a fencer in college, so some of the information sounded vaguely familiar. After the presentation, many of us went next door to historic Gadsby's Tavern for lunch. I particularly enjoyed catching up with fellow Kensington author Christine Trent, who sat next to me.

After lunch we put on our dancing shoes and learned some English Country Dances. I've had the opportunity to do some of this dancing--which is a little like our square dancing--when I've been able to attend the Beau Monde soiree before the RWA national conference. It's lots of fun, but I can never remember the steps--even while I'm doing the dance--so there's usually a lot of laughing involved as well. If you'd like to learn a little about it--and see and hear the Duke of Kent waltz, one of the dances we stumbled through today--check out Beau Monde members Marissa Doyle's and Regina Scott's blog, NineteenTeen here.

After the dancing, a storyteller/Alexandria tour leader treated us to Alexandria ghost stories--he made a few of us jump at least once--and showed us how to flirt with a fan in the Colonial era.

By 4 pm the program was over and Michelle and I made our way back to Maryland by a much more direct route. We're still scratching our heads over why the GPS sent us hither and yon in the morning.

It was a great day with great folks. I'm so glad Michelle persuaded me to get out of my writer's cave for the day!


  1. It really was a fun day! Glad to carpool with you. :)

  2. And thanks again for driving. When we were touring Homewood House yesterday, the docent mentioned getting ice from the ice house and that ghoulish story the tour guide told about pink lemonade popped into my head.