Presenting “Austen Spoilers” Cartoon by John Atkinson

Austen Spoilers graphic by John of Wrong Hands

Isn’t it charming? And too true!

We had a hand in its creation. We loved this “Shakespeare Spoilers” cartoon so much when we saw it on Facebook recently. It made us laugh out loud. But wait. The Bard is just as clever, witty and engaging as our favorite English author Jane Austen. Shouldn’t she get equal billing?

We contacted the cartoonist John Atkinson and pitched another famous English author for his artistic consideration. He was game—and we are delighted with the results.

Continue reading “Presenting “Austen Spoilers” Cartoon by John Atkinson”

Happy Thanksgiving Janeites

Cornelis van Spaendonck roses and forget me nots

It is Thanksgiving day here at Woodston Cottage and we are very grateful for many things in our life: friends, family and Janeites. I would like to thank the following:

Our fabulous reviewers: Christina Boyd, Kimberly Denny-Ryder, Lisa Galek, Katie P., Sarah Emsely, Br. Paul Byrd, and Virginia Clare Tharrington, who freely contribute their time and passion for Jane Austen.  

Our wonderful authors: I cannot name you all individually, but we are so glad that you write and we can benefit with hours of reading enjoyment.

Masterpiece Classic PBS: for years of incredible television adaptations of our favorite novels including all of Jane Austen’s major works and new series such as The Paradise and Downton Abbey. All we can say is WOW!

Friends: Syrie James, Diana Birchall, Jane Odiwe, Deborah Holloway, Deborah Barnum, Vic Sanborn and many more. You are the best!

Jane Austen: for six masterpieces, minor works and letters which have given us hours of thought, discussion, enjoyment and my season of second chances.

“Arguments are too much like disputes. If you and Miss Bennet will defer yours till I am out of the room I shall be very thankful;” — Pride and Prejudice 

Our amazing readers: who share our passion for Jane Austen and her legacy with devotion and loyalty.
Happy Thanksgiving to all.
Cheers,
Laurel Ann
© 2013 Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose.com

Pride and Prejudice: A Rose by Any Other Name…

Image of the Pride and Prejudice rose by Harkness @ 2013 Harkness

As an avid gardener and Jane Austen enthusiast, I have been waiting patiently for this…a rose named after one of my favorite novels, Pride and Prejudice!

It was inevitable that some rose breeder would cash in on the Pride and Prejudice bicentenary. I am just surprised it took them so long to name a rose after one of the novels or characters created by my favorite author Jane Austen.

Huzzah! Just announced by Harkness, a specialist rose growers in the UK, Pride and Prejudice, a floribunda rose in pale peach. WOW! Here is the description: Continue reading “Pride and Prejudice: A Rose by Any Other Name…”

Jane Austen Birthday Soirée 2013: Celebrating A Plan of a Novel

Jane Austen Birthday Soirée (2012)Today, December 16th, is Jane Austen’s birthday. 237 years ago she was born at Steventon Rectory in Hampshire, England.

In celebration of my favorite author, I am participating in the Jane Austen Birthday Soiree being hosted by Maria at My Jane Austen Book Club blog. It is basically a blog hop with many great giveaways being offered. Each blog will feature a favorite passage from one of Austen’s works.

For your enjoyment, I have selected a short piece that exemplifies Austen’s humor, one her many talents that I am particularly fond of. A Plan of a Novel was written in 1816, probably in response to Austen’s visit to Carlton House in London with the Prince Regent’s librarian Rev. James Stanier Clarke and their subsequent correspondence in which he offers advice to the author on the subject of her next novel; and her family’s advice on the same subject! It is a parody, similar to her exuberant and fantastical Juvenilia, and her early novel Northanger Abbey, satirizing what was outrageous in the popular literature of her day. Interestingly, she also including notes in the margins indicating which of her family members made the suggestions!

The manuscript of Plan of a Novel now resides at The Morgan Library & Museum in New York City. You can view an image of the original document of A Plan of a Novel online at their website.

Plan of a Novel, according to hints from various quarters, by Jane Austen

Scene be in the Country, Heroine the Daughter of a Clergyman, one who after having lived much in the World had retired from it and settled in a Curacy, with a very small fortune of his own. — He, the most excellent Man that can be imagined, perfect in Character, Temper, and Manners — without the smallest drawback or peculiarity to prevent his being the most delightful companion to his Daughter from one year’s end to the other. — Heroine a faultless Character herself, — perfectly good, with much tenderness and sentiment, and not the least Wit — very highly accomplished, understanding modern Languages and (generally speaking) everything that the most accomplished young Women learn, but particularly excelling in Music —  her favourite pursuit —  and playing equally well on the PianoForte and Harp — and singing in the first stile. Her Person quite beautiful — dark eyes and plump cheeks. — Book to open with the description of Father and Daughter —  who are to converse in long speeches, elegant Language —  and a tone of high serious sentiment. — The Father to be induced, at his Daughter’s earnest request, to relate to her the past events of his Life. This Narrative will reach through the greatest part of the first volume — as besides all the circumstances of his attachment to her Mother and their Marriage, it will comprehend his going to sea as Chaplain to a distinguished naval character about the Court, his going afterwards to Court himself, which introduced him to a great variety of Characters and involved him in many interesting situations, concluding with his opinions on the Benefits to result from Tithes being done away, and his having buried his own Mother (Heroine’s lamented Grandmother) in consequence of the High Priest of the Parish in which she died refusing to pay her Remains the respect due to them. The Father to be of a very literary turn, an Enthusiast in Literature, nobody’s Enemy but his own — at the same time most zealous in discharge of his Pastoral Duties, the model of an exemplary Parish Priest. — The heroine’s friendship to be sought after by a young woman in the same Neighbourhood, of Talents and Shrewdness, with light eyes and a fair skin, but having a considerable degree of Wit, Heroine shall shrink from the acquaintance.

From this outset, the Story will proceed, and contain a striking variety of adventures. Heroine and her Father never above a fortnight together in one place, he being driven from his Curacy by the vile arts of some totally unprincipled and heart-less young Man, desperately in love with the Heroine, and pursuing her with unrelenting passion. — No sooner settled in one Country of Europe than they are necessitated to quit it and retire to another — always making new acquaintance, and always obliged to leave them. — This will of course exhibit a wide variety of Characters — but there will be no mixture; the scene will be for ever shifting from one Set of People to another — but All the Good will be unexceptionable in every respect — and there will be no foibles or weaknesses but with the Wicked, who will be completely depraved and infamous, hardly a resemblance of humanity left in them. — Early in her career, in the progress of her first removals, Heroine must meet with the Hero — all perfection of course — and only prevented from paying his addresses to her by some excess of refinement. — Wherever she goes, somebody falls in love with her, and she receives repeated offers of Marriage — which she refers wholly to her Father, exceedingly angry that he should not be first applied to. — Often carried away by the anti-hero, but rescued either by her Father or by the Hero — often reduced to support herself and her Father by her Talents and work for her Bread; continually cheated and defrauded of her hire, worn down to a Skeleton, and now and then starved to death. — At last, hunted out of civilized Society, denied the poor Shelter of the humblest Cottage, they are compelled to retreat into Kamschatka where the poor Father, quite worn down, finding his end approaching, throws himself on the Ground, and after 4 or 5 hours of tender advice and parental Admonition to his miserable Child, expires in a fine burst of Literary Enthusiasm, intermingled with Invectives against holders of Tithes. — Heroine inconsolable for some time — but afterwards crawls back towards her former Country — having at least 20 narrow escapes from falling into the hands of the Anti-hero — and at last in the very nick of time, turning a corner to avoid him, runs into the arms of the Hero himself, who having just shaken off the scruples which fetter’d him before, was at the very moment setting off in pursuit of her. — The Tenderest and completest Eclaircissement takes place, and they are happily united. — Throughout the whole work, Heroine to be in the most elegant Society and living in high style. The name of the work not to be Emma, but of the same sort as S. & S. and P. & P.

End

If this bit of joyful burlesque amusement made you smile, you might want to pre-order Syrie James’ new novel The Missing Manuscript of Jane Austen to be released on December 31, 2012. This new novel was inspired by Jane Austen’s Plan of a Novel. You can read my preview here. I have read Ms. James’ new work and it is indeed a clever incorporation of Austen humor, romance and biting wit.

A GRAND GIVEAWAY

Now gentle readers, in celebration of our favorite author please leave a comment sharing your favorite Austen novel, novella, or minor work to qualify for a chance to win one copy each of Jane Austen Made Me Do It and The Missing Manuscript of Jane Austen. The contest is open to US residents and ends on December 18th, 2012 at 11:59 pm Pacific time. Winner to be announced on Thursday, December 20th, 2012. Good luck to all, and Happy Birthday Jane!

Please visit the other participants in The Jane Austen Birthday Soirée 2013 by clicking on the links to their blogs listed below. Have fun!

© 2012 Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose

A Grateful Thanksgiving from Jane Austen

Regency family dinner

Wishing all of my readers, and Janeites in the US, a very happy Thanksgiving day with your friends, family and fur fellows.

Jane Austen did not celebrate this American holiday in her lifetime, nor did she know of it. For one, she was an Englishwoman and the holiday was not an official annual tradition in the US until 1863, when, during the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.” She did however write this thanksgiving prayer which I find quite fitting.

Give us a thankful sense of the blessings in which we live, of the many comforts of our lot; that we may not deserve to lose them by discontent or indifference. Hear us almighty God, for his sake who has redeemed us, and taught us thus to pray. Amen. – Jane Austen, Prayer I

I am very grateful for many blessings this holiday – and especially thankful of all of my fellow reviewers here on Austenprose: Christina, Kimberly, Jeffrey, Aia, Bro. Paul, Shelley, Lucy and Lisa. Your dedication, generosity of time, and writing skills are greatly appreciated by me and many. Thank you!

And last, but certainly not least, I am very thankful of the works of Jane Austen, whose author has given me many hours of enjoyment, admiration and inspiration!

Have a wonderful holiday everyone!

Cheers,

Laurel Ann

Related posts:

© 2012, Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose

Austenprose Celebrates a Five Year Blogoversary

Jane Austen Pop Art Banner

Yes, Dear Reader. Today is Austenprose’s five year anniversary. Huzzah!

I can’t believe I have been blogging about Jane Austen and her world for five years, but there it is. Time has truly flown by while we have been having a lot of fun dishing about Jane Austen and the many books, movies and the pop culture she has inspired.

I can’t take all the credit and have much to be grateful for. My current group of book reviewers can all step forward and take a bow too: Christina Boyd, Kimberly Denny Ryder, Shelley DeWees, Br. Paul Byrd, OP, Jeffrey Ward, Aia H. Y., Laura Wallace and Lisa Galek. What an incredibly gifted team you are. Together we have reviewed 320 Jane Austen or Regency-inspired novels and nonfiction books. That is an amazing accomplishment and I thank you.

If you are curious about numbers, here are a few facts:

  • Total posts: 1,233
  • Total comments: 17,859
  • Total followers:  986
  • Total unique visitors: 1,883,171

When I started Austenprose on a whim on Oct 29, 2007, I never really expected much more than the personal gratification of writing about a topic that I love. The rewards of my efforts have been amazing. Not only have I learned more and have a greater respect for my favorite author, but I have made incredible friends online, some of whom I have also met in person, and published a short story anthology, Jane Austen Made Me Do It, all because I took the plunge and began a blog.

Many thanks to all of my review team, my Janeite friends, my publisher Random House and to you gentle reader, who have been so generous with your time and loyalty.

Cheers,

Laurel Ann

© 2012, Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose

Jane Austen’s Rogues & Romance Official Trailer

It’s here! The release of the new Facebook game for Janeite’s…Rogues and Romance. WOW!!!!

Enjoy!!!

Follow Friday: Signet Classics 16th Annual Student Scholarship Essay Contest Inspired by Jane Austen’s Emma

Signet Classics Emma, by Jane Austen (2008)Here is great news for budding young writers. US high school juniors and seniors are eligible to enter the Signet Classics 16th Annual Student Scholarship Essay Contest for a chance to win $1,000 award prize!

This year’s competition book is Jane Austen’s Emma. Essays must be based on the five topic selected by Signet. Here are the details from the official contest website:

Topics

Select one of the following five topics:

  1. In the “Introduction” to the Signet edition, Margaret Drabble writes: When Jane Austen embarked on her novel Emma, she is said to have said, “I am going to take a heroine whom no one but myself will much like.” (pp. v) What is there about Emma that people might not like? Give specific examples from the novel. How does this reflect your own opinion about Emma? Explain.
  2. Will Emma and Mr. Knightley be happy once they are married and settled? What passages in the novel led you to this conclusion? What differences or conflicts in these characters might lead to stress or dissatisfaction in their union?
  3. Curiously, four of the major characters, Emma, Frank, Jane and Harriet, are children raised by surrogate parents. How do you think their family situations influence them as adults? Consider their personalities, behavior, values, relationships. Choose at least two of these characters and discuss the ways their backgrounds influence the course they take in the novel. Use specific details.
  4. Emma experiences several painful events and realizations that alter her understanding of herself and jolt her out of her complacency. Discuss three or four of the most important events which trigger her development into a mature and compassionate young woman from a clever but self-centered adolescent.
  5. The Victorian writers who followed Jane Austen later in the nineteenth century often depicted a dramatic range of social classes. In contrast, Austen’s focus in Emma is more narrow, essentially only depicting the middle class since none of the characters are either extremely wealthy or extremely poor. Nevertheless like the larger outside world, the society is quite rigidly stratified. How is community depicted? What defines each group economically, culturally and socially?

Be sure to check out the Official Rules for 16th Annual Signet Classics Student Scholarship Essay Contest and read the winning essays from the 15th Annual Contest.

The deadline to submit your essay is April 13, 2012 so don’t delay. Best of luck to all you budding Janeites in the US.

Cheers,

Laurel Ann

© 2007 – 2012 Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose

Follow Friday: Jane Austen’s Regency World March/April 2012 Preview

Jane Austen's Regency World Magazine March/April (2012)Hot off the presses is the March/April (No 56) edition of Jane Austen’s Regency World magazine, the ultimate Austen reading indulgence. Here are the featured articles!

  • Romance of the East: how the Regency travelers of Jane Austen’s time were fascinated by Islam and the Orient
  • In Jane Austen’s footsteps: enjoy our tour of Chawton village
  • Best-selling novelist Karen Doornebos asks why grown women swoon over Darcy
  • How Charles Dickens, the bicentenary of whose birth is celebrated this year, was influenced by Jane Austen’s contemporaries
  • Frances Burney’s experiences with the Royal Family
  • Jane Austen’s nieces in Ireland – the amazing true story of May, Lou and Cass
  • Finding the fools in Northanger Abbey

Plus the Jane Austen Society, JASNA, the latest Austen news, letters and book reviews. You can download a free preview article here.

Watch out for your copy in the mail – or subscribe at the Jane Austen’s Regency World website.

Can’t wait for my copy to arrive.

Happy TGIF everyone!

Cheers,

Laurel Ann

© 2007 – 2012 Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose

New Jane Austen-inspired Facebook Game Announced by the BBC & Legacy Interactive

Rogues and Romance Interactive Facebook Game

Happy news for Janeites and gaming fans…

The venerable BBC, who have brought us the monumental mini-series of Pride and Prejudice in 1995 and 1980 and many other classic film adaptations, announced today that they will be releasing a new Jane Austen-inspired interactive game, Rogues and Romance, for Facebook next month.

Fitzwilliam DarcyDeveloped in partnership with Legacy Interactive, the game will re-create the world of Austen’s novels “allowing players to take part in an imaginative adventure that follows the path of Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy after they are married.”

I had the pleasure of meeting Legacy Interactive CEO Ariella Lehrer last December at the JASNA Southwest’s Winter Symposium in Los Angeles. She is a true Janeite and thrilled to translate her secret obsession into a fun social game. “We are determined to deliver an experience that passionate Austen fans will love, as well as gameplayers who know of Austen but have never read her novels.”

Robert Nashak, EVP, BBC Worldwide Digital Entertainment & Games, explains, “Social interaction is at the core of Austen’s work and we felt that was a concept we could explore that had a natural synergy with Facebook. Rogues and Romance is a fun romp of a game that celebrates the world of Jane Austen.”

I think it is a brilliant notion and if you do to, Legacy Interactive is giving Austenprose readers an incredible opportunity to be one of the first group of players to experience Rogues and Romance first hand during a “closed beta” testing period.

You will have the opportunity to “test drive” the new interactive game “which takes Pride and Prejudice as its starting point following the newly married Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy on a hidden object adventure with an intriguing twist. Players will be able to take their place in society leaving calling cards, attending and hosting receptions and pursuing courtships. Each player will have their own manor house and be able to indulge their penchant for fashion with a choice of Regency-era costumes.” Emma WoodhouseYour feedback will only make this game even better before its official launch next month.

Yep, you heard it first on Austenprose, so do visit the official website for Rogues and Romance, and then email betatester@legacyinteractive.com with the email address that you use for your Facebook account if you are interested in participating. Please put in the subject “Jane Austen Facebook game beta test.”

We shall see who really knows their Jane Austen, and who needs a refresher course.

Enjoy!

Cheers,

Laurel Ann

© 2007 – 2012 Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose

The Many Lovers of Miss Jane Austen Airs in the UK

The Many Lovers of Miss Jane Austen (2011) BBC

Historian and television celebrity Amanda Vickery’s documentary on the fandom of Jane Austen aired in the UK yesterday on BBC. The Many Lovers of Miss Jane Austen contains Vickery’s observations on Austen’s fame with interviews of scholars and fans.

To mark the 200th anniversary of the publication of Jane Austen’s first novel, Sense and Sensibility, Amanda Vickery explores the writer’s fluctuating popularity and the hold her fiction has on readers today. She talks to literary scholars, film directors and costumed devotees at Austen conventions to consider why the plots and characters continue to delight, amuse, console and provoke, argues that different generations see their own reflections in the stories, and watches a rare, handwritten manuscript of an unfinished Austen novel go under the hammer at Sotheby’s. Featuring contributions by Andrew Davies, Charles Spencer and Howard Jacobson.

I attended the Jane Austen Society of North America’s AGM in Fort Worth, Texas last October and had the pleasure of meeting Prof. Vickery.

Laurel Ann Nattress and Amanda Vickery at JASNA Ft. Worth (2011)

She was there with a full film crew to record many of the events during the conference including speaker Andrew Davies, the screenwriter of the A&E/BBC miniseries of Pride and Prejudice (1995) and many other Austen film adaptations, and interviews of some of the attendees. Two of my fellow Puget Sound JASNA members are featured in the documentary: Mary Laney and Kimberly Brangwin. Here’s a clip:

No news yet if The Many Lovers of Miss Jane Austen will air on North American or elsewhere, but this highly anticipated documentary is only rivaled by another BBC documentary, Jane Austen: The Unseen Portrait? which airs on the BBC on December 26th, 2011 in the UK. Geesh. Us US Janeites have to wait (or have other illegal resources) to see everything good on this side of the pond.

Martha Kearney and Prof. Paula Byren with possible Jane Austen portrait (2011

Jane Austen is one of the most celebrated writers of all time but apart from a rough sketch by her sister Cassandra, we have very little idea what she looked like. Biographer Dr Paula Byrne thinks that is about to change. She believes she has come across a possible portrait of the author, lost to the world for nearly two centuries. Can the picture stand up to forensic analysis and scrutiny by art historians and world leading Austen experts? How might it change our image of the author? And what might the portrait reveal about Jane Austen and her world? Martha Kearney seeks answers as she follows Dr Byrne on her quest.

Possible portrait of Jane Austen (2011)

Merry Christmas everyone!

Cheers,

Laurel Ann

Woodston Cottage

© 2007 – 2011 Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose

Holiday Austen Potpourri

Holiday Jane Austen stuff  (2011)

I am so behind in blogging, so here are the whirlwind highlights of what I have been doing at Woodston Cottage and in California these past two weeks…

My Trip to California

I left my snug cottage in Snohomish and flew to Los Angeles for a quick Jane Austen-inspired long weekend. On Friday, author Syrie James and her husband Bill picked me up at LAX airport and whisked me off to a screening at the Writer’s Guild Theater in Beverly Hills for a viewing of Twilight: Breaking Dawn. (is Edward really the new Darcy?). Inquiring Janeites would like to know!

Mr. Darcy or Edward Cullen?Darcy vs. Cullen?

On Saturday we attended the Jane Austen Society of North America – Southwest Chapter’s Winter Symposium at the Los Angeles Athletic Club. Four of my authors from Jane Austen Made Me Do It were in attendance: Syrie James, Diana Birchall, Laurie Viera Rigler and Brenna Aubrey.

Laurel Ann Nattress and Syrie James signing Jane Austen Made Me Do It Dec (2011)

Signing Jane Austen Made Me Do It

We signed copies in between speakers and three of the ladies read excerpts from the anthology during lunch. The symposium was one of, if not the best run, events I have every attended. Beautiful historic building with amazing California plein air art, gourmet luncheon of prime rib and poached pears, and three fabulous speakers: Dr. Cheryl Kinney spoke on “A Dangerous Indulgence: Women’s Health in Jane Austen’s Time;” Arnie Perlstein spoke on “Concealed Pregnancies in Jane Austen’s Novels;” and Walter Nelson spoke on “Quackery, Snake Oil & Flim Flam Medicine.” Before lunch there was a wonderful toast to honor Jane Austen’s birthday cheered by all with mulled wine. What a fabulous event. Many thanks to JASNA – SW RC Nancy Gallagher and her team of organizers for graciously including me and Jane Austen Made Me Do It in your wonderful day in honor of Jane.

Yvonne Yao Jeweler Jeweler Yvonne Yao

Next we were off for a brief visit to a local craft show to meet Syrie’s daughter-in-law Yvonne Yao who is a talented handcrafted jewelry designer.  I was tempted — and succumbed. Who can resist beautiful bling?

Union Station, Los AngelesUnion Station interior

Then we were off to rejoin the event speakers and anthology authors from the JASNA event that day at dinner in the historical Los Angeles Union Station. Wow! Of course I had to tell the family story of how my father left Union Station in 1944 to go off to WWII. He almost missed his train because he was in the bathroom shooting craps! My dad always lived on the edge and fondly told that story.

A Day at The Huntington

Syrie and Bill James at the Huntington Library & GardensSyrie and Bill James

The Huntington Library and Gardens Rose GardenThe Rose Garden

Japanese Garden at the Huntington Gardens and LibraryThe Japanese Garden

Sunday saw us journeying to the happiest place in my Janeite world. The Huntington Library and Gardens in San Marino. When I lived in California, I visited it frequently, but had not been there in over ten years. We were lucky to get in. The Pasadena area had been hard hit by a powerful and dangerous wind storm and the roads to the Huntington were littered with downed trees and debris. They had closed the grounds for two days to try to clean up.

Huntington Garden ancient live oak blow over after wind stormAncient California Live Oak blown over

There were still branches everywhere, paths blocked and huge live oak trees totally uprooted. That of course did not stop us. The weather was beautiful and clear (huzzah) and we walked the sumptuous gardens. I saw the new Chinese Gardens and many new building that they have added in the last few years.

Pagoda at the Chinese Garden at the Huntington Library and GardensThe Chinese Garden

The Tea Garden at the Huntington Library and GardensThe Tea Rooms

The highlight of the day was a high tea in the Tea Rooms followed by tour through the Art Gallery which includes the Thornton picture gallery and the rest of the palatial manor house. The art collection contains some of the most fabulous Georgian and Regency era portraits anywhere. I of course visited my two favorites:

Lady Emma Hamilton by George Romney

Lady Emma Hamilton, by George Romney

Sarah Siddons as the Tragic Muse by Josiah Reynolds

and Sarah Siddons as the Tragic Muse by Joshua Reynolds.

Both ladies were great beauties of their generation and infamous for entirely different reasons. Lady Hamilton was Admiral Nelson’s mistress, which scandalized Britain, and Sarah Siddons, the most famous dramatic actress of her day. Jane Austen wanted to see in London but missed the chance.

Art Gallery at the Huntington Library Dec 2011 Art Gallery

The Huntington is renown for it’s incredible library of books, including a Gutenberg bible, and first editions of all of Jane Austen’s novels. Scholars come to visit and study its numerous and unique selection, all locked up in the rare collection room. In the main house there is also a small library of twentieth-century editions that I always enjoyed skimming through in the past. All the classic are there, including a Chawton edition of Jane Austen’s Novels. Syrie’s eyes lit up when I mentioned that I always searched for them every time I visited the Huntington. It had become a ritual for her too. As we oohed and aahed over the leather bound volumes, a kind gentleman with a great camera took this shot for us and emailed it to me. The binding is much bluer in person, but it is great to have the image and know that Syrie and I, two ladies passionate about Jane Austen, had admire them so independently of one another until this day! Ironically, the set is next to an edition of The Brothers. Do any other Janeites see the humor in these two authors paired together? The first person to know the answer, and leave a comment, wins a signed copy of Jane Austen Made Me Do It! (shipment Internationally)

Chawton Edition of Jane Austen at the Huntington LibraryChawton Edition of the Novels of Jane Austen

Of course the day would not be complete without a trip to the gift shop, one of the best museum shops I have ever been to. I purchased some treasures: Jane Austen magnets which I featured in my recent Austen-inspired holiday gift selections, beautiful tree ornaments of pie slices, candy and gingerbread houses and a hat! Syrie and I enjoyed the special Jane Austen section which featured her novel The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen and Margaret Sullivan’s Jane Austen Handbook. Monday I traveled to San Clemente to visit my sister and mother and then Tuesday I flew home. My cat Herman was VERY happy to see me after being looked after by family. It’s so nice to be missed! ;-)

Syrie James and Laurel Ann Nattress at the Huntington Library Gift shopSyrie and Laurel Ann in the gift shop

Home at Woodston Cottage

Jane Austen attends the JASNA - PS Dec meetingJane attends the JASNA – Puget Sound birthday party!

Since I returned home, I have been trying to catch up on email and blogging — and the holidays. I attended my own Puget Sound Chapter of JASNA’s birthday celebration of Jane Austen birthday last Sunday.

Julie A., Mary Robinette Kowal, Laurel Ann Nattress and Marilyn LaBeck at JASNA - PS Dec 2011 birthday partyJulie A., Mary Robinette Kowal, Laurel Ann Nattress and

Marian LaBeck at the JASNA Puget Sound December Austen birthday soiree

Guest speaker, novelist and puppeteer Mary Robinette Kowal from Portland, discussed the challenges of writing a Jane Austen-inspired Regency era novel. Her highly acclaimed Shades of Milk and Honey was embraced by Jane Austen fans as very Austenesque in style and language. She discussed the evolution of language since Jane Austen day and its challenge to modern writers. Determined to get it right, Mary had used a database of words from Jane Austen’s novels and letters in an attempt to check certain words against her new novel, Glamour in Glass, that releases in April. I had a chance to chat with her after her talk and mentioned that she might find the Austen Thesaurus helpful. She was not aware of it – and if you are not either – you can put any word in and it will pull comparable words that Jane Austen used. It’s called Write Like Jane Austen – and they are not kidding.

Charlene Kern with Jane Newly elected Regional Coordinator Charlene Kern with a friend

The JASNA – PS celebration was very festive with toast to Jane by Debra Alderman, pictures with Jane, and a food spread that Jane would definitely have approved of. It was great to see my chapter friends Marian LaBeck, James Nagle & Julie A. A very enjoyable day was had celebrating our favorite author’s birthday.

Jane Austen Birthday Soiree 2011

The Jane Austen birthday celebration is building for Friday, December 16th, an all day long birthday bash by 32 bloggers. Don’t miss out of the blog hop with each of the participants writing a post in honor of Jane, and giveaways galore.

Austenprose's Jane Austen birthday giveaways 2011

Austenprose’ birthday swag

I will be joining the festivities with a discussion of the new Fourth Edition of Jane Austen’s Letters and a giveaway of Austen-inspired note cards by Jennifer Shaphren, designer of Jenny Did it!, a copy of Jane Austen Letters (third edition) and a signed copy of Jane Austen Made Me Do It. It should be a very busy day on Friday hopping around the blogosphere and leaving comments on all the blogs to qualify for the giveaways.

Laurel Ann's Infamous Golden Fruitcake the fruit cake

Lastly, yes, I am almost finished. The holiday decorating continues at Woodston Cottage. I am decking the halls with wreaths, garland, candles, poinsettia’s and fruit cake. I talked about my famous golden fruitcake last year. It’s not that sticky, gooey, candied fruitcake that people joke about being shipped around the world ten times. This is made with dried fruit soaked in bourbon. It is a knockout and tastes fabulous. May I brag about it some more? It takes two weeks to make, and no time at all to consume! Here are few slices showing how the fruit and nuts make it so showy! I am now qualified to be called the fruitcake lady.

Slices of Laurel Ann's Infamous Golden Fruitcake the proof is in the pudding

Also on my dinning table are two new arrivals: Downton Abbey season two screener from my friends at Masterpiece Classic PBS (happy dance), and an advance readers copy of Forbidden, by Syrie James and Ryan M. James. She co-wrote it with her son Ryan and it is one of the most highly anticipated teen novels of the season. My reviewer Christina can’t wait to get her mits on it.

Phew. I did it! So much news that just needed to get told. Please check back on Friday for Jane’s birthday bash. It shall be an incredible day for Janeites!

Cheers,

Laurel Ann

Woodston Cottage

© 2007 – 2011 Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose

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