At a recent meeting of my local JASNA region, I was able to share information about Austen Authors with my fellow members. I was a little embarrassed how clumsily I described this blog because of my dread of self-promotion. I was able to diffuse my nervousness by mentioning that I was so bad at self-promotion that Sharon and Regina didn’t even know how to contact me, because I don’t make my email address readily available.
Thankfully everyone laughed at this and it made me realize how much I enjoy being part of JASNA. The Denver-Boulder chapter is a very relaxed group that doesn’t take itself too seriously. We have members that only read Austen’s writings—again and again—and those who’ll read any Jane Austen Fan Fiction. We’re not an academic group, even though we have some academics who are members and we often hear from Joan Ray just down the street in Colorado Springs. And we’re not much inclined to wear costumes or country dance. Instead there’s just a happy acceptance of Jane Austen, like a fire banked low that can be easily stoked into full flame.
At this meeting, we had a lot of fun discussing The Watsons, one of Austen’s unfinished novels. Pam Mingle, who led the discussion, asked us to find comparisons between the characters in the 18,000 words Austen had written and the characters in Austen’s other works. It was a lot of fun and I realized when I tried to find similarities that I kept imagining hidden agendas for the characters. I am at core a mystery writer it seems.
After the meeting concluded, a new member to our group asked me if I was an author and I realized that I had managed to describe the website without saying that I was an actual author. By now most of the members know it and we have several other members who’ve published, but we are a low key bunch. The woman who’d asked had shared a table with me at our Austen birthday party in December and I realized I had spent two hours with this woman without once tooting my own horn.
I finally told her about my books and she asked where I could find more information about them and was about to give her the address to my two websites or my Facebook page when I suddenly just said, “Look me up on Austen Authors.” So thanks Austen Authors and my local JASNA chapter for helping me promote myself.