Friday, September 21, 2012

Getting ready for the ACFW Awards Banquet

When you read this I'll be at my sixth ACFW conference. For years I've wanted to attend in full 1860's costume, but packing a hoop skirt into a carry-on suitcase is not something I want to say I've done.

So when I found out this year's conference would be in Dallas, and since I only live five hours away, this is the year I attend in a hoop skirt. I went to my costume closet in July to decide what to wear. My gorgeous lavender and white dress won out.

Slight problem though. Too small. The dress was made for me in 2006, and I've gained weight since then. The seamstress included all the fabric scraps with the dress and it became an easy fix. For the skirt anyway. Fitting the bodice to me required taking half of it apart, and I didn't want to spend the time doing it just to wear it for three hours. Oh, I forgot to mention. It's polished cotton. Polished cotton does not breathe. It's like wearing Saran Wrap.

Out came the trusty seam ripper. I let out the gathers, extended the waistband and sewed it back together. Took me about thirty minutes. All fixed!

So, what to do about a bodice? I hit the costume closet again and found an appropriate white blouse. More than a little plain though, so I took the crocheted collar off my lavender bodice and attached it to the blouse. Instantly dressed up!

But wait! There's more. My hair. I keep it short and layered. Not exactly period appropriate for 1860. When I was reeneacting all the time I did my hair in snoods. Period appropriate, no bobby pins to fall out. Except I didn't have a white one, and currently have no idea where they are. So what did I do? I made one. With #3 thread and a crochet hook.

Looks ridiculous draped over my hand, but awesome when it's on my head. It'll be trimmed with skirt-matching ribbon.

Still not done though. Accessories. I'm wearing polished cotton. In Dallas, Texas. In a room with 800 other people. I'm probably going to get hot. What did every Southern belle in the 19th century carry? A fan. I have a gorgeous Battenburg lace fan I've never had the chance to use. Matches the outfit to perfection. Also, I have a shawl. Purple silk with embroidered flowers and butterflies. A gift from a dear friend and fellow writer.

Still not done. The modern woman has to hide things when she's posing as an antebellum belle. Enter the reticule. It'll hide my cell phone, room key and banquet ticket, while completing the look of a genteel lady out for an afternoon stroll.

To see the complete ensemble on me, you'll have to come back next week.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Follow The Heart Scavenger Hunt!

To participate in the scavenger hunt you need to leave a comment on this post. I'm asking a question, so read to the bottom to see what the question is.

Follow the Heart by Kaye Dacus
Book 1 in The Great Exhibition Series
Coming from B&H Publishing in May 2013

Kate Dearing’s life is turned upside down when her father loses everything in a railroad land speculation and she and her brother are shipped off to their mother’s brother, Sir Anthony, in England with one edict: marry money.

Though their uncle tries to ensure Kate finds matrimonial prospects only among the highest echelon of British society, her attentions stray to the one of the least eligible people at her uncle’s home—the garden designer.

Trying to push her feelings for the handsome—but not wealthy—man aside, Kate’s prospects brighten when a friend of Sir Anthony’s, a wealthy viscount, shows favorable interest in her. But will marrying for the financial security of her family be the right thing to do, when her heart is telling her she’s making a mistake?

Mandates . . . money . . . matrimony. Who will follow the heart?

About Kaye:

Humor, Hope, and Happily Ever Afters! Kaye Dacus is the author of humorous, hope-filled contemporary and historical romances. She holds a Master of Arts in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University, is a former Vice President of American Christian Fiction Writers, and currently serves as President of Middle Tennessee Christian Writers. Kaye lives in Nashville, Tennessee, and even though she writes romance novels, she is not afraid to admit that she’s never been kissed.

Scavenger Hunt Trivia:
Directions: Each participating blog has both an answer and a question—but the answers and questions aren’t on the same blog. DON’T POST YOUR ANSWERS HERE! Collect the questions and answers in an e-mail—along with the address of the site where you found each—to be sent to Kaye Dacus once you’re confident you have all of them and be entered to win one of FIVE signed copies of Follow the Heart when it releases in May 2013. Visit for the list of participating sites in the scavenger hunt and rules for entering the contest.

Question: How many people attended the Great Exhibition?

Answer: Near the center of the Crystal Palace was the forerunner of the modern-day food court—a place to sit and eat, either the food you’d brought yourself and carried around with you all morning or food you’d purchase from one of the many vendors. Beverages were also plentiful: lemonade, coffee, tea, Schweppe’s soda water, and ginger beer. A relatively new convenience available in several locations throughout the building were “Waiting Rooms” or “Refreshment Rooms”—public restrooms, though visitors had to pay for the privilege of using them. “I fully sympathise with those who so bitterly complain of the lack of refreshments at the Exhibition. I tried the lollipops, and the worst and smallest sandwiches I ever tasted! The coffee I have found nearly always cold and good for nothing; tea I have never yet seen” (visitor to the Exhibition).

And now my question. Do you have a favorite NON American setting you like to read about in historical romance? Remember, you have to answer this question to be eligible for the grand prize.