The Things that Really Matter–

A Jane Austen Education: How Six Novels Taught Me About Love, Friendship, and the Things that Really Matter by William Deresiewicz is a wonderful overview of the depth of Jane Austen’s genius presented in the unique form of a literary analysis cum diary. I dearly wish I had read it before I met Bill in August 2012 in at the Decatur Book Festival. I’d have loved to discuss any number of his insights and explore further some of his conclusions. This “study” of Austen and Peter Leithart’s Miniatures and Morals are my top references and sources of inspiration should I ever dare to write more Austen-inspired novels. Thanks, Bill for a very enjoyable and informative read and next time our paths cross at an Austen event, let’s get together for tea!



Austen & Aidan in Atlanta…well, close.

Reading from Young Master Darcy
at the Decatur Book Festival

It was “Welcome to HOTlanta” from more than one native as the Austen authors took shelter under tents that reflected the sun but little of the 98 degree heat. I am happy to report that we were well furnished with traditional Southern self-actuated cooling devices, otherwise known as hand fans, that we elegantly wafted back and forth to counter the “glow” that no real lady ever condescends to acknowledge. Yeah…  Well, we did have one such lady, the lovely Lady Rita, who dressed a la Regency in a beautiful dress, stunning hat, and lace parasol. *sigh*

The lovely Lady Rita

The fellowship of Austen authors was a wonderful experience and the organization of “Jane Then and Now” nothing short of phenomenal for a first time effort. The logistics were a bit daunting, but the lovely Jan and Barbara were up to every trick.

I met several long-time fans, some long-ago friends, and a goodly number of Austen aficionados who came to see what all the Austen-ruckus was about under the white tents. What a privilege to meet all of you and share our love of this incredible literary inspiration! Thank you Robin and Gayle for carting me about, Jan and Barbara for dreaming this and making it happen, and my fellow authors who came from all over the country to become the biggest gathering of Austen authors ever!

Signing my books for Jackie Leatherberry and Meredith Esparanza


Readin’ and Writin’ at the Festival

     If you can get to the Decatur Book Festival, I’d love to meet you!
I’ll be in the JASNA tents, #101-103.

Reading from my books: Saturday at 2:45/Sunday between 1 & 2.

Writing my name in books and talking Austen: Saturday 11:15 – 12:30, 3:00 – 5:20/Sunday 12 – 1, 2 – 4

Meet Me in Decatur!

It’s less than a week until the Decatur Book Festival near my former home of Atlanta, Georgia. The festival sounds wonderfully exciting, and the good people of the Jane Austen Society of North America-Georgia chapter have gone to extraordinary lengths to bring Jane to the Festival. The even attracts 100,000 annually and, although not all are Austen lovers, I imagine that more readers will be exposed to Austen and her literary progeny at one time than ever before.

A book festival–what a wonderful thing in a time when “story” is making another leap in form, spreading further into lives as ebooks living in “clouds”! Whatever would Jane think? Even fifteen years ago when I first started writing An Assembly Such as This, such a thing was not on my horizon. I thought I was quite up on technology by writing by computer rather than with pen and paper, composing by the soft click of the keyboard rather than the explosive bang of the typewriter. So now the dream is to appear in e-ink and be drawn down from a cloud into people’s lives via such strange sounding devices as Nooks and Kindles that will read to you as well, rather than enshrined in bound paper packages.

What will be next? Book glasses, I suppose. Text will stream across the lenses and a tiny microphone will chirp the text to you in surround-sound realism, complete with a musical score. And Jane will make that leap as well: deftly , gracefully, compellingly. Technology nor shifting public taste will hinder her advance through cultures because she writes of the human heart in all its “follies and nonsense, whims and inconsistencies” that lead it into joy and sorrow in every culture, in every time. Although we are not early 19th century ladies and gentleman, we can still recognize ourselves and our neighbors in her words and, perhaps, understand and profit from that recognition to become the gracious ladies and gentlemen of our own times.

Hope to see you in Decatur!


PS There’s a list of all the Austen authors at the festival and a give away contest  of An Assembly Such as This and Young Master Darcy at Scurry on over!

A Hero’s Guide to Gift Giving!

Scurry on over to Jane Started It! to read  the Crown Hill Writers Guild comic contribution to the Jane Austen Birthday Soiree. There’s prizes galore there and even more at the other thirty-one Austen-inspired blogs. Have fun, win prizes and sing “Happy Birthday” to our dear Jane. See you there!


“We’re making a baby!” Giveaway 2

Davies and Babies

What a delight it was to hear the background stories of Andrew Davies Austen movies at the 2011 JASNA in October! His reminiscences flowed until the session time was nearly over. Pride and Prejudice, he claimed, was the easiest to bring to screen. It seemed ready made for adaptation. The hardest Austen novel for him to screen write was Emma or the “little rich bitch,” as he dubbed her. Although he had little sympathy for his main character, I’d venture to say that he did quite well. We’ve been treated to several versions of Emma over the years, but Davies’ remains the most faithful…and Mark Strong the best Mr. Knightly of them all.

And here we come to the 2nd contest. The winner will get a signed copy of Jane Austen Made Me Do It.

During the filming of Emma, a serious hitch developed because an important scene was not able to be filmed. The scene takes place at the Woodhouse estate and the entire family is present. At one point Emma’s youngest niece, a baby, is handed around the room. For some inexplicable reason, the baby took exception to one of those who was to handle her and wailed every time that person held her. So, another baby was brought in to play the niece. The same thing happened with the same actor/actress. Time was running out. Finally Davies told a crew member to go to the local grocer’s and buy several bags of beans to be sewn into sacks made up to appear like a baby (from the back). The crew member ran to the grocer’s and bought the beans. Knowing his customer was from the film crew, the grocer was curious. “Why do you need all those beans?” The crew member replied, “We’re making a baby!”

Who was the actor/actress who scared babies?

Mr Knightley

Miss Jane Fairfax

Emma Woodhouse

Mr John Knightley

Mr Woodhouse