Austen Authors at Denver-Boulder JASNA

Austen Authors at Denver-Boulder JASNA

Austen Authors on the projector
Austen Authors on the projector and yes, we have an actual male member.


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.

15 Responses to Austen Authors at Denver-Boulder JASNA

  1. What an awesome opportunity, to present to other Austen lovers like that! I feel your pain on the self-promotion thing. I was in a booth at the Vegas Valley Book Festival with Jenni James last fall and watched in awe as she worked the crowd. Most of the sales of my book that day was owed to her promotional expertise! Oddly enough, I can get up and give a speech or presentation to a large crowd and not even break a sweat, but put me in a situation where I have to draw people in with my conversational skills and my brain melts.

  2. Sorry for the delay in responding to comments on my own post, but it was a busy weekend for me. Let me address some of the comments:

    I’m generally good at speaking before a crowd as long as it’s not about myself. My normal reaction is to make self-deprecating comments to the point that I start to sound like a Borsch-belt comedian. My worst experience was teaching PageMaker to a group of 20 high school teachers in a very small room. That’s one of the nine circles, I’m sure.

    I also tend to babble and start promising things to people and suddenly realize I’m now on three committees.

    Thanks, Chris, for you comment. Mike’s a relatively new member. He’s a fellow Sherlockian and started coming to our Austen meetings after I gave him the information. Mike’s quite busy as well, also being a member of my Wodehouse group and a member of the English Speaking Union. We do have another man in our group, but I’ve never seen him at a meeting. I consider him mythical.

    Mike has occasionally mentioned that he’d like to see a male perspective on some topics. If only Jane had written a little more about cricket, for Mike is a keen cricketer.

  3. Well done with the presentation. When I looked at the photo of the group a comment formed immediately, but I found that the caption to the picture had drawn my fire. You have a token male member! Why do so few men take an interest in literature and why do even fewer read Jane Austen with enthusiam and pleasure? I can find answers enough to these questions, but none that I care for as a man.

  4. What a fabulous story! I love it!! There is something to be said for a JASNA group that isn’t too intense. My region — Greater Louisville — is huge, and with the AGM hosted here this year, everything is Serious Jane with the powers-that-be peering at every teeny thing with a microscope. A bit of casual fun and levity would be nice!

    Thanks for sharing Austen Authors, Jennifer. Now sit down and write some of those plot bunnies! LOL!

  5. Oh, but we readers don’t always know what new (or older) books are out there so we do appreciate hearing about the books one writes and a brief description. There are so many books with so little time as many say. I often buy a book after reading about it on one of these blogs. So please toot your horn a little. Now I have to look up your works on Amazon.

  6. Self-promotion can be so hard! At least you were with people who at least liked Austen! That’s the first step. And now you’re doing not only self-promotion but promoting all of us. So, thank YOU!

  7. I taught speech and theatre for many years, but I never find it comfortable speaking to groups. Actually, I believe it is easier to speak to those I do not know than it is to speak to a group with whom I am familiar.

  8. Give me a large group of people, especially if I don’t know them well, or at all, amd I come over all “Darcy” and can be found in a corner or against a wall watching and not speaking unless I have to!

    Well done, Jennifer.

  9. It was fun to hear about your meeting Jennifer. I have never been one who could toot my own horn easily, so I feel your pain. However, such a like-minded group seems so much easier to address than strangers. You have broken the ice so your next presentation should come easier. Congratulations.

  10. I guess I take speaking in front of groups for granted since I am a teacher. Nevertheless, when my students perform, I tell them to let go of “self” and think about what the song is trying to say, or conveying it’s meaning. You have something to share, and there are folks who want to hear it. Nice to know about some of the JAFF groups that are around. Thanks, Jen Red

  11. I tii find speaking on front of a grouor intimidating, that is a group of adults. Give me a group of 4 year old students and I have no difficulty. The fact that you made them laugh seems to have relaxed everyone.

  12. Jennifer,
    Lovely to hear what a nice time you had.
    Speaking in front of a group can be intimidating until you realize they are all hoping to see you enjoy yourself.
    Getting them to laugh that first time is like taking the first olive from the jar; the rest of the olives and the fun comes easily after that.

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