Friday, September 10, 2010

Launching a New Austen Blog

"My idea of good company is the company of clever, well-informed people who have a great deal of conversation; that is what I call good company." ~ Jane Austen ~

It’s my pleasure to again have Sharon Lathan visiting Over Coffee, and this time she brought her partner, Abigail Reynolds. Both of them write Austen fan fiction. Regardless of whether you like or hate fan fiction, there are so many readers who love Austen stories and want to read about the research, social mores, fashion, and of course the continuing love affair between Lizzie and Darcy. These authors and the additional twenty plus Austen fan fiction authors can all be found on one site now. You want a daily dose of Austen like stories and ondits; you’ll now have that opportunity on this wonderful blogsite.

I’m so proud of Sharon and Abigail. I well know what work goes into creating a new blog, setting blog times and guests, as well as getting the word out. I love how quickly like minds came together to do a final chat about the blog to launching it a month later. All this month there will be all sorts of goodies on the blog.

First, for those that don't know Sharon and Abigail let me introduce them to you.

Abigail Reynolds is a lifelong Jane Austen enthusiast and a physician. In addition to writing, she has a part-time private practice and enjoys spending time with her family. Originally from upstate New York, she studied Russian, theater, and marine biology before deciding to attend medical school. She began writing From Lambton to Longbourn in 2001 to spend more time with her favorite characters from Pride & Prejudice. Encouragement from fellow Austen fans convinced her to continue asking ‘What if…?’, which led to five other Pemberley Variations and her modern novel, The Man Who Loved Pride & Prejudice. She is currently at work on another Pemberley Variation and sequels to The Man Who Loved Pride & Prejudice. She is a lifetime member of JASNA and lives in Wisconsin with her husband, two teenaged children, and a menagerie of pets. You can read the blurb, and excerpt of her soon to be released book.

Sharon Lathan is a native Californian currently residing amid corn, cotton, and cows in the sunny San Joaquin Valley. She divides her time between being a homemaker, nurturing her own Mr. Darcy and two children, and working as a registered nurse in a Neonatal ICU.  Sharon is generally found reposing in her comfy recliner with faithful laptop adhered to her thighs. Throw in the cat, dog, and a ton of fish to complete the picture. Read the Blurb and excerpt.

Sharon and Abigail in costume

So how did the two of them come up with this idea? Funny, I wondered the same thing and so I asked (as per usual, lol!)

Funny things happen when you get a bunch of authors together. Add in a party atmosphere and perhaps a bit of wine and rich food and watch out world!

Writers recognize that often times their best story ideas begin with some tiny snippet. Maybe an overhead comment or random one-liner meant as a joke that then takes flight and evolves into a huge bestseller! Well, for us the genesis for our Austen Authors blog began as a halfhearted proposal and has flamed into a massive undertaking successful beyond our wildest dreams.

The first time we tossed out the concept of a group blog for Austen fiction writers was in 2009 at the RWA National Conference. It was a great idea even if verbalized more as a jest about the hundreds of Austen writers banding together and taking over the world! For a host of reasons we did not pursue it, yet neither of us totally shelved the concept. We met again at this year’s Nationals in July and before lunch on day #1 we were again talking about a group blog. Seriously this time.

Now, barely a month later, Austen Authors has launched. With a sonic blast! Despite our flippant remark about hundreds of Austen fiction writers we truly did not grasp how many there were nor how positively they would respond to our invitation. It has been overwhelming, but in a fabulous way.

We have needed to rethink our process many times, but our mission has remained clear and unwavering:

To provide a consolidated website where lovers of Austen who want to experience more of her world can learn about the variety of literature published in the genre. As authors we want to share our passion for Austen and support each other, no matter whom we are published by, so that the diverse visions sparked by her brilliance will flourish.

Why? ... because there’s never enough Jane Austen

As of today, 20 published novelists of Jane Austen literary fiction have banded together for the first time in history to share their passion for Jane’s world and celebrate this ever-increasing genre. The brainchild of best-selling authors Sharon Lathan - The Darcy Saga sequel to Pride & Prejudice - and Abigail Reynolds - The Pemberley Variations.

Austen Authors

We cordially invite you to the launch of Austen Authors blog!

For the entire month of September there will be posts by each author as well as contests, quizzes, a scavenger hunt, oodles of information, three new release parties, author introductions, entertainment, humor, polls, secrets, recipes, games galore, and a massive giveaway of gifts and books from the authors and their publishers.

Today we are welcoming Amanda Grange, bestselling author of Mr. Darcy Vampyre and Mr. Darcy’s Diary!

The group also includes these established and debut authors ( to learn more about each one and what books they have out or being released soon, click on their names and it will bring you to their website):

Skylar BurrisKathryn L. Nelson, Monica Fairview

Jane OdiweSusan Adriani, Mary Simonsen,
Cindy Jones, J. Marie Croft, Marsha Altman
Regina Jeffers, Jack Caldwell, Carolyn Eberhart
Heather Lynn Rigaud, Kara Louise, Lynn Shepherd

Marilyn Brant, C. Allyn Pierson, Victoria Connelly

  • Sharon and Abigail, I'm so excited for you. Thank you so much for being my guest today!
Thank you, Sia, for giving us this opportunity to talk about our blog and the amazing talent involved. We hope everyone will click over and join in the fun.

**** Other links

Facebook Group  On Twitter as : AustenAuthors

All materials, logos, pictures, bookcovers, copywrited and used with permission.


~Sia McKye~ said...

Sharon and Abigail, welcome to Over Coffee. I have plenty of goodies and hot drinks on the coffee bar and best of all no sick people to deal with, so relax and pull up a chair and set a spell!

WHAT a clever idea. I know from my own blog there is always much to do and when it can be shared it makes it much easier.

*Lifting a cup of my excellently brewed coffee:

Here's to successful Launch of Austen Authors!

Sharon Lathan said...

Boy, you got that right, Sia! Running my own website and humble blog, and participating on the Casablanca Authors blog, has prepared me to a great degree, but starting a group blog of this magnitude is an entirely different animal! Thank goodness I do have a wonderful partner in Abigail. And I can honestly say that the authors who have joined us have been incredible. Together we have created something wonderful and a bit magical. However, I may come knocking on your virtual door if I need advice from a blogging pro!

Thanks again for hosting us on Over Coffee. I know the others will pop in as the day progresses. I just happen to be the only crazy one up at 12am!

~Sia McKye~ said...

Nah, if you're crazy, I'm not sure what that makes me, lolol! Sharon, I'm more than happy to share any school of hard knocks advice I may have.

My *virtual* door is always open and I hope several Austen authors will grace us here at Over Coffee with their stories of LAUGHTER AND THE TEARS, THE GLITCHES AND THE TRIUMPHS the coming year.

tonya kappes said...

I did stop by a couple days ago when Marilyn Brandt blogged about it. I think it's a great idea and so many wonderful writer's coming together!

Anonymous said...

Sia, Thanks for the coffee and your support of our new blog. You are very kind to provide links to all of our personal sites as well. Since I'm just getting started (my book comes out next March) I am especially grateful for the help. Have a great day!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Careful what you joke about! Congratulations on a successful launch.

~Sia McKye~ said...

Cindy, there are a lot of Jane Austen fan fiction fans that will LOVE having a site to stop by to get the latest scoop on Lizzie and Darcy and the Ton, as well as their favorite authors. :-)

Quite an impressive line up authors taking part in this. I wish you well!

~Sia McKye~ said...

Alex,isn't that the truth?

From joking banter to reality, pretty cool, huh?

MarySimonsen said...

It has been a remarkable five days for Austen Blogs. As one of the authors, I would like to thank you for joining in our launch month celebration! :)

VA said...

What a delightful endeavor, if exhausting I'm sure. A hub for people to gather around is invaluable today with the glut of data and lack of time to explore everything. Congratulations and good luck.

I'll admit my ignorance now, and state that I have minimal to zip experience with fan fiction so I have a question:

People often have very strong ideas about characters, what happens when someone takes a path deemed undesired by the community(of fans)?

Is fan fiction a interactive experience between author and reader? I can't imagine the archetype of the genius alone with their quill in this instance. I'll stop now, 'cause I'm already at two questions.

Best of luck Sharon and Abigail.

Anonymous said...

Abigail and Sharon, thanks for sharing the news about your new Austen Authors endeavor. Joking or not, a shared passion can generate a lot of energy and it sounds like it's now well channeled. Best of luck with the new site.

Sharon Lathan said...

Thanks for the questions, VA. I will answer the second one first-

Fan fiction can be interactive, I suppose. I haven't seen that too often in the JA realm except for the occasional short story challenge or round robin on an online community. Novel length FF is exactly as you describe it: "the genius alone with their quill." Well, with a pen or computer keyboard in this instance, but the concept is correct. We are the authors, the creators, just as any writer is. We launch from, are inspired by, and borrow from the originator (Jane Austen in this case), but how we interpret and where we go is completely original. It is our vision, just as any novel is that author's vision.

Your first ? is yes, people do have strong opinions and no, they do not always like what we do! But, as I said, we are the creators of OUR vision and can chose to do whatever we want with those characters just as any other author does (often times upsetting the reader). We accept that not everyone will love our vision, but then that could be true no matter what we wrote! There are always critics. Luckily in the JA fiction world they do not outweigh those who love having more of her characters.

Thanks for the insightful query and I am sorry for taking so much of Sia's blog space to answer it!

Olivia Cunning said...

Congrats on the new blog, ladies! I know it will be a smashing success. I think I'll watch the movie version of Pride and Prejudice to celebrate. Mr. Darcy coming out of the fog... sigh.....

Marilyn Brant said...

Sia (*waving*), hello!! Thanks so much for helping us to spread the word of our new Austen Authors group and, as always, for being such a gracious hostess here ;). Clinking coffee cups with you!! Hope you have a wonderful weekend...

Kat Sheridan said...

Sounds like a wonderful idea! I love the way communities are created in both real life and on the web and become entangled! Wishing ou the best of luck in your new endeavor!

~Sia McKye~ said...

Marilyn! It's grand to have you visit and I love your interpretation of JA. With a modern twist which draws me more, in many cases.

You ladies are up for the weekend so we hope to get this to as many readers as possible, but feel free to tweet and FB, etc

Kat, I love the way communities are formed. Virtual communities can be as strong as living in the same town community, as you and I well know, lol!

J. Marie Croft said...

As it's getting latte here, I'll have to pass on the coffee. Yet I couldn't call it a day without stopping by to say 'Hi' and to expresso my thanks for sharing your thoughts about Austen Authors. It's bean an exciting week, especially for a newbie to this whole publication grind. Sia, please forgive the puns and accept my thanks for spreading the word about our blog.

~Sia McKye~ said...

Marie, it's my pleasure, I assure you. I loved your puns, lmao!

Abigail Reynolds said...

Thanks, Sia, for inviting us! It's been an exciting process in so many ways.

I'll take a shot at VA's questions as well. Fanfiction has always been interactive for me because I started out posting on the internet, and it was reader encouragement and suggestions that kept me going. It's still very important to me to communicate with my readers. As for the strong ideas, yes, there are definitely some issues with that, which is precisely why I wanted to have this blog. I hoped to show that we all support each other, whether we write sweet or sexy books, moderns or regencies, mysteries or romances. We all have a love of Jane Austen in common, and that's the most important thing.

VA said...

Thanks, ladies. It seems to be a challenging field. When one just writes a novel there are no preconceived notions, this sounds like being a cow and wandering into a piranha-laden stream.

I will wander through Austen Authorland. I have my feelings about Darcy and Knightley, too.

chatty said...

Congrat to a successful launch abigail and sharon. I was wondering how you chose your authors to join you. I know there are a lot of other writers, because I think I've read every P&P book out there. Some of the authors not included have written some really nice stories. Just a little question.
thanks charlene