Maybe something for Christmas?

Can’t say anything yet, but more things are stirring than mice in anticipation of an Austen Christmas.  Stay tuned!

–Pamela

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Your favorite P&P-inspired novel: a chance to vote

There’s a contest going on at Goodreads.com, the Jane Austen Sequel Group, in which you may vote for your favorite Pride and Prejudice – inspired title. An Assembly Such as This is one of the contestants. If you are so inclined, I would be honored…

Pamela

PS You will have to join the Jane Austen Sequel in order to vote, but it’s a great one to belong to and you have options to keep notices under control.

Original Cover

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

~Pamela

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!

Pamela

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 Darcyholicsdiversions.com. Scurry on over!

A Clear Vision

O God of Earth and Altar 

O God of earth and altar,
Bow down and hear our cry,
Our earthly rulers falter.
Our people drift and die;
The walls of gold entomb us,
The swords of scorn divide;
Take not Thy thunder from us;
But take away our pride.

From all that terror teaches,
From lies of tongue and pen,
From all the easy speeches
That comfort cruel men;
From sale and profanation
Of honor and the sword;
From sleep and from damnation,
Deliver us, good Lord.

Tie in a living tether,
The prince and priest and thrall;
Bind all our lives together,
Smite us and save us all;
In ire and exultation
Aflame with faith, and free,
Lift up a living nation,
A single sword to Thee.

Powerful, unabashed words, aren’t they? This is actually a hymn (For music, click here) out of Cantus Christi, the hymnal my church uses. One of the things I appreciate about Cantus Christi is the range of the hymnody. From the Psalms through the latin 3rd century chants and confessions, and up to 2000 AD, the collection is meaty in conception and musically challenging at times. Most Sunday mornings I must wipe tears from my face and assure my fellow worshippers that I’m fine, only that I cannot stop tears that rise from the many hymns of bold truth and the beauty of fitly strung words. They sing faith and conviction into my heart. “O God of Earth and Altar” is one of those hymns.

When would you think it was written? In some ways it seems ancient and in other ways like this morning’s news. The immediacy of the issues for our day is undeniable.

-1906-   The music is  from a tune called Kings Lynn described as “traditional English melody. ” The words were penned by G.K. Chesterton, a prolific writer whose work is cataloged by Wikipedia as “…around 80 books, several hundred poems, some 200 short stories, 4000 essays, and several plays. He was a literary and social critic, historian, playwright, novelist, Catholic theologian and apologist, debater, and mystery writer. He was a columnist for the Daily News, the Illustrated London News, and his own paper, G. K.’s Weekly; he also wrote articles for the Encyclopædia Britannica, including the entry on Charles Dickens and part of the entry on Humour in the 14th edition (1929). His best-known character is the priest-detective Father Brown, who appeared only in short stories, while The Man Who Was Thursday is arguably his best-known novel. He was a convinced Christian long before he was received into the Church, and Christian themes and symbolism appear in much of his writing.”

Chesterton is someone that, as a Christian and a writer, I’d like to know more about.

A Jane Austen Devotional?

I came across the publishing announcement for A Jane Austen Devotional yesterday as I was paging through the new Christian titles for January and February sent out by a book catalog for stores and libraries. Two thoughts occurred simultaneously: “Oh, how interesting!” and “O-o-h, why didn’t I think of that?” Austen’s wonderful novels are nothing if not studies of character. For those with eyes to see, the unspoken standard by which her characters morally stand or fall is that which she imbibed from birth, the beautiful as well as sharply discerning words of Scripture. If you have caught up with Miniature & Morals by Peter Leithart, the wonderful analysis of the depth of Christian influence in Austen’s novels that I mentioned several months ago, a devotional that takes its subjects from Austen sounds like the best of all possible worlds!

The “Look Inside” option takes you inside the Devotional to a small selection that gives the reader a taste of what insight Austen’s characters might give on select principles  in the Bible. For instance, Mr Knightly’s caution expressed to Miss Weston on the inappropriateness of Emma’s friendship with Harriet Smith, that it is of benefit to neither woman and, potentially, actively detrimental to them both is paired with the Biblical injunction that “The fool hath no delight in understanding, but that his heart may discover itself.” Proverbs 18:2  and “He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will be destroyed” Probers 13:20.

If what is wanted is a moment of reflection during the day, this pairing of Austen and Scripture is just the ticket. Jane cannot help but give flesh and bones (and amusing dialogue) that illustrate Biblical principles, for her world lived and breathed them still. My personal feeling is that A Jane Austen Devotional is a respectable start, but that there is so much more richness and depth to be explored that it does not discourage me from hoping, someday, to engage  in a pairing of Scripture and Austen myself.

~~Pamela