Last weekend I was in Brooklyn for the JASNA-AGM which is also a conference at which several hundred people get together and talk about Jane Austen. Weird? Absolutely. Some of us dress up for the ball on Saturday night. Some of us dress up all the time in different outfits and some of us cross-dress. There were also a few real men there too. The New York Times took some terrific pics which are much better than mine, so take a look here. As you can see we had a grand parade outside at night led by a fife and drum duo and there weren’t many people around but we enjoyed ourselves anyway.

Our plenary speaker was the amazing Cornell West who said (something like) philosophers seek the flame but Jane Austen is the fire. There were lots of great speakers including Anna Quindlen and William Deresiewicz, whose book A Jane Austen Education I’ve been longing to read and now own (signed!).

I was there as one of a subpanel of writers for a panel on publishing where we admired Penguin’s beautiful new Austen editions collaborating with graphic artists. There were shopping opportunities for books thanks to the very cool Jane Austen Books and here’s some of my loot–a fab pair of earrings and a tin of tea that was the official invite to next year’s JASNA in Minneapolis, based on Pride & Prejudice.

More pics–the view from my hotel window and a view from the Brooklyn Bridge–I played hooky to take a walk on Saturday afternoon in glorious weather. I liked Brooklyn a lot–some lovely buildings and lots of energy and nice friendly people.

I also got the chance to catch up with some of the Austen authors I know–here are Ann Herendeen, Karen Doornebos, and Cindy Jones, and here’s a great one of Ann in her gorgeous Regency finery. Sadly I didn’t get a pic of Karen in her pirate outfit. (Yes, there is an Austen connection, or so she said.)

Tomorrow I’m off again, this time to the New Jersey Put Your Heart in a Book Conference in Iselin, NJ, and if you’re in the neighborhood please stop by and meet me at the booksigning on Sat. afternoon. And please also stop by online and make me buy a waterbuffalo–my blog tour is ending soon and there is absolutely nothing to stop you signing at every single stop; in fact, please do. For every comment made I’m donating $1 to Heifer International up to $250, the price of a waterbuffalo. The whole schedule is here and today I’m visiting Carrie Ann Ryan and Kacey’s Connections.

So what have you been up to recently? Dressed up as a Regency lady or a pirate? Drunk much tea? Visited a wonderful neighborhood that was new to you?