Monday, November 1, 2010

Janeites in Portland

It's Monday morning and I'm back in the saddle after a delicious few days in Portland, at the Jane Austen Society of North America's Annual General Meeting.  The focus this year was Northanger Abbey--and murder, muslin and mayhem--but the proceedings were given a fillip of added interest by their coincidence with Halloween, and Saturday night's Masked Ball.  Most provocative costume: the Empire-waisted Regency gown made entirely of black patent leather, worn by a mashed-up Austenesque vampire.  Greatest laugh moment: Team Tilney's spoof of the Old Spice Man commercial, with Henry Tilney compelling every woman in the room to "Look up!  Look down!   Where are you?  You're with that man who's reading that book you love..."  I just hope somebody filmed it, and that it goes viral.  Thanks to Maggie Sullivan of AustenBlog and friends who put That Man in a Corinthian's costume.

I was fortunate enough to present my PowerPoint on aspects of mystery writing in Northanger before something like six hundred avid Jane fans, and have a "comfortable coze" about all things Austen in the Q&A that followed; enjoy breakout sessions and Juliet McMaster's excellent assessment of Catherine Morland as heroine; sign books until my hand fell off at the cocktail party; browse the Milsom Street emporium; meet JASNA president Marcia Huff, and congratulate the conference organizers on a phenomenal job.  I raised a late-night Austentini with fellow writers and Laurel Ann Nattress, AustenProse blogger and editor of the forthcoming short story anthology Jane Austen Made Me Do It, which will include "Jane and the Gentleman Rogue" when it appears in October 2011.  I got to stroll through the Saturday morning Farmer's Market in downtown Portland in the rain, with my husband--which was unabashedly romantic.  Writers spend far too much of our time alone in semi-darkened rooms, staring at glowing screens; the chance to mingle with like-minded souls for a few days was a boon.  Thanks, Jane!


  1. Thanks for the AGM blog, Stephanie. I don't know what to do with myself, home again after my first AGM experience, but reading your write-up has allowed me to delay re-entry a little longer. I thoroughly enjoyed your plenary talk and am so glad I had the chance to meet you and learn about your books. I would like to send you an ARC of my novel, MY JANE AUSTEN SUMMER, and would love to know what you think of it. If you would like a copy, please email me at and let me know where to send it. All best, Cindy Jones

  2. Yes, re-entry is painful, Cindy! I figure nothing but a protracted wallow in the Ciaran Hinds/Amanda Root Persuasion will get me through the evening; like Portland, "it always rains in Bath..." I'll send you the address for the galley.

  3. My mind is still reeling from all the activity. What an amazing weekend.

    It was such a pleasure to meet you Stephanie and toast Jane and the anthology at our author get-together. Thanks again for signing my copies of your Jane Austen Mysteries series. My friend will be so thrilled. She is a big fan.

    Your talk was very enlightening. You had the crowd in the palm of your hand. Well done.

    Cheers, Laurel Ann

    P.S. Thanks again for the shout out on the anthology at the conference and here. I am so honored that your contributed your fantastic story with Lord Harold & Jane.

  4. Laurel Ann: Yes, yes yes! Great get together. I'm slightly deflated this week as the reality of Life With Children re-descends. Looking forward to reading EVERYBODY'S story in the anthology--