Grace's Mosaic Moments

Saturday, June 1, 2024

Best Graduation Cap Ever! & The Demise of RWA


On Thursday night, May 23, 2024, my youngest grandgirl graduated from Seminole High School, the ceremony held 20+ miles away at the University of Central Florida. (I did not attend, having vowed never to set foot in that auditorium again after what happened at Riley's graduation. Took me three weeks to recover!) But I thoroughly enjoyed Susie's pics of the events, including Cassidy getting a thumbs-up for her hat from the primary official on the stage. 

For those who live where decorated caps are not a tradition, the seniors in Seminole County go to great lengths to decorate their mortarboards for the Big Day. Cassidy had a rather unfair advantage in that her father, Mike, and his cousin, Lionel, are gifted with both creativity and know-how.* I'm not sure Cassidy had anything to do with this cap except wear it—and perhaps breathe down the necks as the men slaved over it. You will note that the airplane is actually "in the air," not resting on the cap.

Also, please note: Class #, name of future college, lighted runway, and trees. (Sanford International, across the street from their house, has trees on three sides.)



*Mike and Lionel are the proud owners of The Capital Room Bar in Sanford. They struggled to renovate the property during the Covid years, doing almost all the work themselves. Lionel's creativity is on every inch of the upscale decor. He also exercises his creativity creating new drinks, decorating the bar for a variety of occasions from Burlesque Night to Gin-Tasting (with lecture from an expert, which I found fascinating), and keeping a constant watch on making the bar a pleasant destination, as well as a place where only the best is served. If you're in the greater Orlando area, the address is 102 First Street, Sanford (corner of Park Blvd, two blocks south of the Lake Monroe). 


THE DEMISE OF RWA (Romance Writers of America)

Grace note:  This article is likely of interest only to authors.

Way, way back—in the mid 90s when I first began to write—being a member of the Romance Writers of America was an absolute "must" for anyone writing for a female audience, whether it was simple Harlequin-style Romance, complex Historical Romance/Adventure, Mystery with Romance, or any one of a dozen sub-genres. Belonging to a local RWA group was essential, as was attending as many national RWA conferences as possible. As an example of this, it was at an RWA conference that I met the Editor of Signet Regency Romances and decided to attempt to confine myself to the rules of that sub-genre so I could find favor with a New York publisher. And that is exactly what happened. Signet published six of my Regency Romances before the line was shut down in an era where Erotic Romance was suddenly taking over the market. Sigh.

I was thrilled to be nominated for a RITA—a big deal in those days. I attended RWA conferences on an average of every other year, soaked up all the expert knowledge offered, thoroughly enjoyed being part of the conference book-signings. Imagine me at a book-signing in the same room with Nora Roberts! (I also recall sitting directly in front of the aisle where three burly firemen lifted a best-selling Romance up (horizontally), to everyone's cheers.)

 In short, RWA was the be-all and end-all for Romance novelists. And then came the conference in Houston (national headquarters of RWA). I opted for a pre-conference tour of Houston, where I met an English lady (closely related to the Devonshires) who became a friend for many years until her passing. I even had an opportunity, several years later, to show her the sights in my part of Gulf Coast Florida. But . . .

During that tour I caught something no one else seemed to notice (I asked several of those sharing our bus & they looked at me as if I was crazy). Part of our tour was a visit to a Confederate cemetery, something I considered an odd choice, even more so as our bus driver was a black female. Little did I guess, however, that my New-England-raised sensitivity had spotted what would bring a mass exodus from RWA only a few years later.

Yes, it was accusations of Discrimination that began RWA's tumble from its pinnacle of power. Discrimination against authors of any color but white. Discrimination against any books with characters who were not lily white. Although I was primarily known for writing books set in Regency England where—despite what you see on "Bridgerton"—there were almost no Blacks or Asians, I soon joined the mass exit of the many authors who turned their backs on RWA after this topic was raised. 

And, truthfully, I have paid little attention to RWA since that time. But evidently, they were never able to recover. The announcement this week:  RWA is filing for bankruptcy. 

RWA was once THE source of useful information for budding authors, the stamp of approval for those who had made it, a showcase for newly published authors as well as the most renowned authors in the field. RWA will be missed. Or will they rise again? Hopefully, with all taints of Discrimination forever washed away. Meanwhile, a tip of the hat to those who recognized the problem and fought for change. 

SUMMARY. RWA, in its heyday, was a bulwark of strength for authors—providing much-needed information, sponsoring contests, awarding our efforts, and, above all, providing the opportunity to meet and talk with other authors. With most of its members totally oblivious to a discrimination that, I am convinced, was more a "built in" oblivion than a deliberate attempt to be an organization "for Whites only." RWA was an immense help to me, for which I am grateful. But I cannot deny its time had come.

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This week's featured book is one of my Traditional Regency Romances published by Signet.

A duke in need of an heir, a sturdy young widow who has followed the drum, a young lady who scorns society, a stylish young fribble—exactly the type she most despises. And the stage is set for riot, ransom, and considerable mental adjustment before both pairs of Regency lovers are reconciled against the backdrop of unrest in London at the time of Waterloo.


"In a delightful dance worthy of any Regency ball, Ms. Bancroft interweaves her characters into one fresh and cohesive romance, letting each find their desires in an effortlessly smooth narrative. . . . Blair Bancroft has captured the Regency and has a firm grasp on its nuances and idiosyncrasies." Celia Merenyi, A Romance Review

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 For a link to Blair's websiteclick here. 

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Thanks for stopping by,

Grace (Blair Bancroft)       

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