Introducing Gwendolyn Dash… and the Jane Austen tea Giveaway

Introducing Gwendolyn Dash… and the Jane Austen tea Giveaway

I am over the moon to be joining the Austen Authors. In my short time as part of the JAFF community, I have come to admire these authors and and their work, and feel so honored to be here today. I come very late to JAFF. For years I thought I was the only one who wanted more stories with these characters, and would eagerly devour the rare Austen-related title I’d come across in bookstores. I had no idea there was such a vibrant community happening online, and I love you all for making it real.

I put a lot of pressure on myself for my first post here. How could I make the definitive debut into this society? It was, quite frankly, paralyzing. What if I made a misstep? I fretted, and fretted, and then sat down to make myself a nice cup of tea.

A few months ago, during a very trying personal time, a friend sent me this gorgeous sampler box of “Literary Teas”. In it were tea blends themed for such luminaries as Louisa May Alcott (delicate and floral), Maya Angelou (strong and spicy), and Edgar Allen Poe (very dark and earthy). Of course, the first one I tried was Jane Austen’s blend, which the creators described as a black tea blend with vanilla, mint, and lavender.

literary tea

I started wondering what it was that made these flavors so “Jane Austen.”

Austen tea

Black tea: The easy one. Is there anything more quintessentially British than a nice cup of black tea? Sometimes just making myself a pot of tea, and using one of the delicate little teacups I’ve collected over the years (instead of just throwing a teabag into a big mug) makes me feel like Lizzy Bennet or Emma Woodhouse. I pay close enough attention to the tea sets in Austen adaptations that one might mistake me for Fanny Dashwood admiring the service at Norland Park. (I’m particularly enamored of Chloe Sevigny/Mrs. Johnson’s silver set in Love & Friendship.)

Lavender: Tiny dried flowers stud the blend in the tin, evoking the pastoral setting of so many of Jane Austen’s books. The wind-swept hills of Devonshire, where the Dashwood sisters tried to create a life. The gardens of Highbury, the infamously “beautiful grounds at Pemberley.” Often, I find lavender in tea too herbal for me, but this one is a light enough touch that it just reminds me of how fond her heroines are of walking outdoors.

Spearmint: Austen is known for her sharp, biting wit. Few targets escape her notice. From the hilarious obsequiousness of Mr. Collins to the unrelenting vanity of Sir Walter Elliot, her skewering of the petty or silly or evil characters populating her corner of English life have become immortal. People who come to Austen expecting only ballrooms and romance are quickly surprised. i once had to school a boyfriend who had the temerity to ridicule the famous opening of line of Pride & Prejudice: “You know she’s being sarcastic, right?”

Vanilla: Sweet and warm, this element of the tea evokes the feeling I get when I re-read Austen, and the one I’m searching for in the JAFFs I read and write. The romance, sure, but also, the enveloping sense of affection and friendship between all the worthy characters, and the happy endings. The righteous characters, and/or those who try to be better becoming better, and making their lives and communities better through their actions. That’s what I want in any book.

Maybe I’m overthinking a simple cup of tea. But also, JAFF itself is a kind of overthinking. We creators and fans of Austen-related transformative works are not content to just read a book once, or watch a movie, and move on. We want more of these characters and their lives! We wonder “what if.” What if Mr. Darcy had managed to propose again before they found out about Lydia running away (In Darcys Debt)? What if Lizzy had gotten sick at Netherfield as well as Jane (In Darcy’s Arms)? What if, What if, What if? The book I’m working on now asks what if everyone had found Mr. Darcy’s letter to Elizabeth? I so enjoy finding these pressure points in the stories, and remixing them to see how it would all play out again. It’s endlessly entertaining. And I’m so pleased to find a group of people who share my love for this. Thank you for having me here.

To celebrate my joining Austen Authors, I’m giving away a package of this Jane Austen Tea. Please leave a comment here to enter. Comments will be accepted until May 20, and then I’ll announce a winner on May 31st. 

48 Responses to Introducing Gwendolyn Dash… and the Jane Austen tea Giveaway

  1. Welcome! I enjoy tea, dark rich tea with milk and two sugars. Lapsang Souchong is my favorite and every time I order it the waitress says “now do you know….” and I say “ Yes, I know it smells like cigars but I love it!”
    My Dear Hubby watches British murder mysteries and the detectives are always stopping by for a cuppa and questions.

  2. Cyndi Harron of S&V creates some lovely blends! While we don’t care for his writing, DH and I do like the James Joyce tea blend: all tea and strong enough to trot a mouse! I have gifted several friends with the JA tea and they all love it (I’m not much for flavoured teas).

    • I admit I tried all my favorite authors first, and felt oddly disloyal when/if I didn’t care for their blends (Poe was just a TOUCH too dark and strong for me), as if each author had personally endorsed them. This is my first time with their teas but I love them.

  3. Welcome to Austen Authors, Gwendolyn. Have thoroughly enjoyed your books and look forward to future ones. Although I’m not an everyday tea drinker, I do love my Lemon Ginger tea on occasion. And I enjoyed your comments concerning Jane Austen’s tea.

  4. I enjoyed this philosophy between Jane Austen’s books and teas. I truly can see how some relate.
    Enjoyed reading your books and cannot wait for a new one. I enjoy a good green tea of ginger and lemon

    • Thank you, Marsha! I was hoping to get one out this month, but day job and quarantine have made it so hard to carve out writing time. By summer, I’m sure. Green tea is my favorite too.

  5. Welcome, Gwendolyn!! It’s so lovely to have you here!!

    I admit to being a tea snob. I am extremely particular about my teas…and this blend sounds amazing!! Thanks for breaking down each flavor and associating them with Jane Austen!!

    Welcome, welcome!! 😀

    Susanne 🙂

    • I’m the opposite of a snob. My go to is a random grocery store brand. But I do love to get fancy every once in a while, and people are always giving me tea for gifts, so I have quite the collection now!

  6. Welcome! Have 2 of your books and samples of the others waiting in my Kindle.
    I’ve grown up drinking genmai-cha (green tea with roasted rice) also known as “popcorn tea” – to me relaxing hot or refreshing iced and not as harsh as green tea. The flavor combination of”Jane Austen” tea is very different and would be interesting to try.
    Again, welcome and thank you for the giveaway.

  7. Welcome to Austen Authors, Gwendolyn! I enjoy sipping a cuppa while reading. I’m looking forward to your posts. Thank you for the delicious giveaway.

  8. Welcome to Austen Authors! I have several of your books on my TBR List and look forward to reading your posts in the future.

  9. Tea is essential for emotional balance during these stressful times. Wouldn’t you agree? Thanks for the opportunity to win some goodies.

  10. Welcome to the group! I have read a couple of your books and enjoyed them. I look forward to more!

  11. Welcome to our party, Gwendolyn. You are among friends and from the ‘get-go’ you were accepted just by loving our dear Jane, our JAFF authors and their stories. Secondly, you are a JAFF author yourself. I look forward to seeing what you have for us. Next, you love tea and that is OK… even if some don’t like tea [which I do]. You gave us a delightful post and a giveaway… OMG! Amazingly awesome. Again, welcome and know that we are harmless unless you DON’T put D&E together. Then… the tide turns and we become nasty. LOL! We have this thing about D&E always… always… being together in the end. Whew! Don’t scare us. Again, welcome and we wish you all the best. Just relax and have a good time. We don’t bite… unless as stated above… well, we won’t talk about that. Stay safe and be healthy.

    • Ha! I would never dare! So far, I’ve only published Pride & Prejudice related JAFFs, so my Darcy and Elizabeth always end up together. But I do have ideas for a Northanger Abbey related one…. They tend to be a lot harder to find!

  12. Welcome!
    Tea lifts my spirits and is my favorite drink all year. What a lovely and special giveaway.

  13. Welcome to Austen Authors. I.shall look forward to your future posts. Thank you for this post on read and for the giveaway.

  14. Welcome!
    I am a Jane Austen fan and a tea drinker all my life. Tea has always been a panacea for my ills and soothes my heart and soul. Thank you for this delightful giveaway.

  15. Hello Gwendolyn, and welcome to Austen Authors 🙂 Thank you for coming to explore the world of ‘what if’ with us. We are all the better for you having found the world of online JAFF writing, reading and exploring. And now, I’m off to brew a cup of tea 🙂

  16. I love your analysis of each tea ingredient and how it relates to Austen! The tea blend sounds enticing and appealing!

  17. Welcome! I too am a fan of Jane Austen and tea! This sounds like an interesting flavor blend!

  18. Welcome! Wonderful first post! I look forward to reading your stories. Thanks for the lovely giveaway as well. I love tea!

  19. Welcome!

    I am a big fan of both Jane Austen and tea.

    Thank you for the chance to win this delightful blend.

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