Austenalia at Chapman University

Austenalia panel: Diana Birchall, Syrie James, Laurie Viera Rigler and Karen Joy Fowler (2011)Austenalia panelist, left to right: Diana Birchall, Syrie James,
Laurie Viera Rigler and Karen Joy Fowler

Last February, (on a whim, because that is the only way to live, right?), I flew from Seattle to Los Angeles to attend an Austen-inspired event that I just could not pass up. Authors Syrie James, Laurie Viera Rigler and Diana Birchall, who have contributed stories to my Austen-inspired short story anthology Jane Austen Made Me Do It, were part of a panel discussion aptly entitled Austenalia, in honor of the 200th anniversary of the publication of Jane Austen’s first novel Sense and Sensibility. Chaired by Dr. Lynda Hall at Chapman University in Orange, California, the panel also included bestselling author of The Jane Austen Book Club, Karen Joy Fowler. All five of these ladies are tried-and-true Janeites and I hoped that it would be a lively and enlightening experience. It was. And so much more.

Prof. Lynda Hall introduces the Austenalia panel

Prof. Lynda Hall introduces the Austenalia panelist

The ladies spoke to an SRO crowd at Leatherby Libraries on campus! Prof. Hall, who is a scholar of 19th Century British literature introduced the four panelist and asked each of them probing questions on how they were introduced to Jane Austen, their road to publication and their reactions to marketing of their works, namely cover designs. Interestingly, each of the panelists has strong ties to Hollywood. Diana Birchall, author of Mrs. Darcy’s Dilemma, is a story analyst for Warner Brothers Studios, Syrie James, author of The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen, worked as screenwriter for several years before tuning her pen to novels, Laurie Viera Rigler has worked in the industry including turning her popular Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict series into an original web comedy series, Sex and the Austen Girl, and Karen Joy Fowler’s bestselling novel The Jane Austen Book Club was made into a movie in 2007.

Austenalia panel viewing 1st American edition of Sense and Sensibility

Austenalia panel viewing 1st American edition of Jane Austen’s novel Sense and Sensibility

A lively discussion ensued matched by the spirited reaction of the audience, many of which were a large group of students from the Orange County High School for the Arts. The event was followed by a book signing by the panelists of their novels and a viewing of a first American edition of Sense and Sensibility recently purchased by the library in honor of the bicentenary. Fortunately for us, the event was filmed in entirety. Please enjoy all one hour and twenty three minutes of pure Jane Austen passion.

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Sex and the Austen Girl Sneak Peek Preview

Our favorite Austen addict Laurie Viera Rigler has gone all Hollywood on us. The popular author of the best selling Austen inspired novels Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict and Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict has created a web comedy series for Bablegum.com called Sex and the Austen Girl based on her two century swapping heroines Courtney Stone and Jane Mansfield. Staring Arabella Field and Fay Masterson, here is a description of the series:

Two women who have inexplicably switched bodies, time periods, and lives — one from Regency England, the other from 21st-century Los Angeles — debate the pros and cons of life and love in today’s world vs. Jane Austen’s world. Sex and the Austen Girl is inspired by the bestselling novels by Laurie Viera Rigler: Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict and Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict.

The series premieres on May 17th, 2010. Here is a sneak peek preview to keep you laughing until then. Congrats Laurie. Can’t wait to laugh out loud!

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Winners announced in the Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict Book Giveaway

Congratulations go out to Jessica and Marlyn our two lucky winners of one copy each of Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict, and Hannah our winner of one copy of Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict, by Laurie Viera Rigler. To claim your prize please email me at austenprose at verizon dot net with your full name and address by Monday, May 10th, 2010. Shipment is within the continental US. Enjoy!

New Jane Austen Short Story Anthology Announced Today

Hot off the presses is an announcement today in Publishers Weekly of a new Jane Austen short story anthology to be published by Random House in 2011. The collection will include approximately twenty stories inspired by Jane Austen, literature’s witty muse of the modern novel and astute observer of human nature and the heart.

Readers familiar with Austen inspired paraliterature will recognize many popular authors among the list of those contributing and a few surprises from best selling authors who greatly admire Austen’s works. Contributing to the line-up are best selling authors Karen Joy Fowler (Jane Austen Book Club), Stephanie Barron (A Jane Austen Mystery Series), Adriana Trigiani (Brava, Valentine), Lauren Willig (The Pink Carnation Series) and the husband and wife writing team of Frank Delaney (Venetia Kelly’s Traveling Show) and Diane Meier (The Season of Second Chances). Approximately twenty Austenesque authors and others from related genres have already committed to the project including:

Pamela Aidan (Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman Trilogy)

Elizabeth Aston (Mr. Darcy’s Daughters, & Writing Jane Austen)

Stephanie Barron (A Jane Austen Mystery Series, & The White Garden)

Carrie Bebris (Mr. & Mrs. Darcy Mysteries Series)

Diana Birchall (Mrs. Darcy’s Dilemma, & Mrs. Elton in America)

Frank Delaney (Shannon, Tipperary, & Venetia Kelly’s Traveling Show)

Monica Fairview (The Darcy Cousins, & The Other Mr. Darcy)

Karen Joy Fowler (Jane Austen Book Club, & Wits End)

Amanda Grange (Mr. Darcy, Vampyre, & Mr. Darcy’s Diary)

Syrie James (The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen, & The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Bronte)

Diane Meier (The Season of Second Chances)

Janet Mullany (Bespelling Jane Austen, & Rules of Gentility)

Jane Odiwe (Lydia Bennet’s Story, & Willoughby’s Return)

Beth Pattillo (Jane Austen Ruined My Life, & Mr. Darcy Broke My Heart)

Alexandra Potter (Me & Mr. Darcy, & The Two Lives of Miss Charlotte Merryweather: A Novel)

Jane Rubino and Caitlen Rubino Bradway (Lady Vernon & Her Daughter)

Myretta Robens (Pemberley.com , Just Say Yes, & Once Upon a Sofa)

Maya Slater (The Private Diary of Mr. Darcy)

Margaret C. Sullivan (AustenBlog.com, & The Jane Austen Handbook)

Adriana Trigiani (Brava Valentine, Very Valentine, & Lucia, Lucia)

Laurie Viera Rigler (Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict, & Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict)

Lauren Willig (The Pink Carnation Series)

In addition, a short story contest hosted by the venerable The Republic of Pemberley website will be held to fill one slot in the anthology for a new voice in Austenesque fiction. Further details on submission and manuscript deadlines will be posted here and at Pemberley.com.

And if you were wondering how I know so much about the project, I have been secretly working on it for months and will be the editor. I’m the luckiest Janeite in the world!

Cheers, Laurel Ann

© 2007-2010 Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose

The BBC Pride and Prejudice: It DOES Get Better Than This (+ a book giveaway)

Please welcome author and admitted Jane Austen addict Laurie Viera Rigler who joins us today to chat about one of her favorite obsessions, P&P 95 and the paperback release of her book, Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict.  (Don’t ya just luv the cover?)

How many of us will resist buying the newly remastered BBC Pride and Prejudice DVD from A&E Home Video, with its color-perfect English countryside and the ability to see, as Laurel Ann led us to envision in her post that individual droplets of water running down Colin Firth’s chest as he emerges from his famous dip in the lake?

 ***pauses to fan self***

I don’t know about you, but I’ve already ordered my copy.

How do I love the BBC P&P? Let me count the ways. I love it for its dearest, loveliest Elizabeth Bennet and her fine eyes. I love it for its faithfulness to Jane Austen’s beloved novel. And I love it for its deviations therefrom in the form of the dishiest Darcy ever to fence and swim and smolder his way into my heart.

Certainly the unprecedented popularity of this BBC miniseries has had a phenomenal effect on popular culture. Many have credited it with contributing greatly to the wave of “Austen euphoria” that, according to the authors of Jane Austen in Hollywood, increased membership in the Jane Austen Society of North America by fifty percent during the single year following its release. Not to mention giving rise to the dozens of Austen-inspired books, films, blogs like this one, and other entertainments that populate the Janeiverse.

For me the BBC P&P has special significance beyond its function as video wallpaper in my home. For it found its way into the very first chapter of my second novel, Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict. There, it served as my heroine’s first close encounter with twenty-first-century technology. She, being a gentleman’s daughter from 1813 England who inexplicably finds herself inhabiting the body and life of a woman in 21st-century Los Angeles, assumes that the tiny figures acting out her favorite novel inside the shiny glass box are real people. And that the box is some sort of window. Strange that the figures inside the box cannot hear her when she talks to them. And that they are so small yet so distinct to the eye…

Imagine my delight when I read, right here on Austenprose that the remastered edition of the BBC P&P is out on April 27th. The very same day that Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict  is out in paperback.

In honor of this serendipity, I am giving away two personally inscribed copies of Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict. For a chance to win a copy, all you have to do is post a comment that tells us how you’d include a reference to the BBC P&P in a book or other form of art or entertainment. Let your imagination run wild, “give a loose to your fancy, indulge your imagination in every possible flight which the subject will afford.”

Have fun, good luck, and see you at Pemberley!

Giveaway Contest

To sweeten the deal I will throw in a copy of Laurie’s first novel in the series, Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict. So, that 2 personally inscribed copies of Rude Awakenings of a JA Addict and one copy of Confessions of a JA Addict to three lucky winners. Contest ends at midnight Pacific time on May 3rd, 2010. Shipment to continental US addresses only. Good luck!

The perfect pairing: Pride and Prejudice 1995 &

Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict

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Austen Tattler: News and Gossip on the Net: Issue No 10

“All that she wants is gossip, and she only likes me now because I supply it.” Marianne Dashwood, Sense and Sensibility, Chapter 31

April 19-25, 2010

Hot News of the Week:

Austenesque author Laurie Viera Rigler’s addiction to Jane Austen has inspired two best selling books: Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict and Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict. Now she can add an original comedy web series on Babelgum.com to her Janeite accolades. Read all about  Sex and the Austen Girl on her blog and tune in next month for the first episode! Congrats Laurie. Brava!

Noteworthy:

Brooding Brontës replace Jane Austen as the bonnet drama remakes of Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights return to the BBC and Film4 in the UK next season. Jane considered too tame and the Brontës are right for the times!

Interview of Austenesque author Amanda Grange (Mr. Darcy’s Diary, et all) at Dark Angel Review & Writing Blog about her experience getting published for the first time.

The Republic of Pemberley continues its group read of Pride and Prejudice through May 23rd, 2010

Great deal on bargain priced editions of Amanda Grange’s Austen Heroes Series at Amazon.co.uk & Amazon.com

Get local with Jane — news from AustenBlog on local Austen events

Julie at Austenonly discusses the new quilt exhibit at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London and ties in Jane Austen and her famous quilt that reside at Chawton Cottage.

Interview of Skylar Hamilton Burris, Austenesque author of Conviction at Austenesque Reviews

Jane Austen’s World discusses activitist Caroline Norton and a Woman’s Legal Rights in the 19th-century

JASNA members watch for the spring issue of JASNA News in your mailbox this week. News on the Annual General Meeting in Portland in October, a great book review by Diana Birchall of The Independence of Miss Mary Bennet and part three of Jane Goes Digital by Mags of AustenBlog

Entertainment:

Just for fun: video mashup of Iron Man vs. Bridget Jones!

Inside news on the new indie movie Pride and Prejudice (2010) currently being filmed in Colorado at Pride and Prejudice 2005 Blog

Anil Kapoor’s Aisha the new Bollywood modern adaptation of Jane Austen’s novel Emma starring his daughter Sonam Kapoor in the title role is set for an August 6th, 2010 release in India

Announcements:

Preview of Jane Austen’s Regency World Magazine’s May/June 2010 issue

Austenesque author Beth Pattillo’s new book The Dashwood Sisters Tell All: A Novel with Sense and Sensibility

GirleBooks announces a new print edition of The Sylph, by Georgiana Duchess of Devonshire with foreword by Heather Carrol of  The Duchess of Devonshire’s Gossip Gude to the 18th-century. Join the group read of The Sylph that begins on May 1st.

The paperback edition of Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict, by Laurie Viera Rigler goes on sale on Tuesday, April 27th, 2010 just in time for summer beach reading.

The restored & remastered DVD edition of Pride and Prejudice 1995 goes on sale on Tuesday, April 27th, 2010. Huzzah! Now we can see the dripping Darcy emerging from the pond with more clarity and finer detail then every before!

Check out the new cover of Bespelling Jane Austen a new Austen inspired paranormal novel featuring four novellas from authors Mary Balogh, Janet Mullany, Susan Krinard, and Colleen Gleason. Very classy!

Book/Movie Reviews:

Until next week, happy Jane sighting

Laurel Ann

Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict, by Laurie Viera Rigler – A Review

Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict, by Laurie Viera Rigler (2009)Is there always another chance at happiness? Are we bound to our past, or do “we all have the power to create heaven on earth, right here, right now?” Important questions heroine Jane Mansfield must come to acknowledge and understand in Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict, Laurie Viera Rigler’s parallel story to her best selling novel, Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict.

This time around, it is Jane Mansfield, a gentleman’s daughter, from 1813 who is transported into the body of twenty-first century Los Angelean Courtney Stone. Jane awakens with a headache, but it will take more than aromatic vinegar to solve her problems. Where is she? Her surroundings are wholly unfamiliar to the usual comforts of her parent’s palatial Manor house in Somerset. Is she dreaming? She remembers a tumble off her horse Belle, but nothing after that point. She looks in the mirror and the face reflected back is not her own. How can this be? A young man named Wes arrives who calls her Courtney. Is he a servant? Who is Courtney? Ladies arrive for a visit concerned by her odd behavior. Why is she acting like a character in a Jane Austen novel?

Jane is indeed a stranger in a strange land. As her friends, or Courtney’s friends Paula, Anna and Wes, help her navigate through the technology of cell phones, CD players, washing machines and other trappings of our modern life it becomes less taxing. She relishes her privacy and independence to do as she chooses, indulging in reading the four new (to her) novels by Jane Austen that she discovers on Courtney’s bookshelf – one passion/addiction that she shares in common with her over the centuries. Between Jane Austen’s keen insights and the fortune teller called “the lady”, she might be able to make sense of this nonsensical world she has been thrown into. Is this the same fortune teller she met in Bath in her own life? She had warned her not to ride her horse. Or did she? Are her memories and Courtney’s one in the same? The lady tells her she has work to do to put Courtney’s life in order. Jane only wants to return to her former life and Charles Edgeworth, the estranged beau she left behind.

Seeing our modern world from Jane’s nineteenth century eyes was quite revealing. I do not think that I will ever look at a television screen again without remembering her first reaction to the glass box with tiny people inside talking and dancing like characters from Pride and Prejudice! These quirky insights are what Rigler excels at, and her Regency era research and knowledge of Jane Austen plays out beautifully. We truly understand Jane’s reactions and sympathize with her frustrations. Not only is Rude Awakenings a comedy of lifestyle comparisons across the centuries, it supplies a very interesting look at modern courtship and romance with a bit of genteel feminisms thrown in for good measure. Interestingly, what principals and standards that Jane learned in the nineteenth century, will straighten out Courtney’s mixed up twenty-first century life at home, work and in her budding romance with Wes.

Rude Awakenings is a cheeky comedy with a message. Like Jane Austen’s novel Persuasion, it helps us to look at mistakes in our past, and reminds us that “time is fleeting, and few of us are fortunate enough to notice that there is always another chance at happiness.” I enjoyed the humor, fondly remembering why I became a Jane Austen Addict in the first place.

5 out of 5 Regency Stars

Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict, by Laurie Viera Rigler
Dutton (Penguin Group USA) 2009
Hardcover (293) pages
ISBN: 978-0525950769

Additional Reviews