“The company of clever, well-informed people, who have a great deal of conversation.”

Pamela Aiden signs her books, An Assembly Such as This, Duty and Desire, and These Three Remain, for Jakki Leatherberry (Leatherbound Reviews) and Meredith Esparza (Austenesque Reviews).

The Decatur Book Festival in HOTlanta was a true delight. Meeting authors, readers, and other Austen lovers certainly provided fertile ground for intelligent conversation covering a great variety of topics. Austen had it right in Persuasion. It was not just good company; it was the best.

Robin Helm, Cynthia Hensley, Stephanie Hamm, Jakki Leatherberry, Gayle Mills, Pamela Aiden, and Lucy (Terry) Parker

Ninety eight degrees in the shade didn’t slow us down. We came, we talked, we signed, we read, we ate, we slept, we got lost, we made new friends, we renewed old acquaintances, we laughed a little too loudly, and we had a wonderful time.

Jennifer Petkus, Abigail Reynolds, KaraLynne Mackrory, Barbara Tiller Cole, Jack Caldwell, Amy Cecil, Regina Jeffers, Maria Grace, Pamela Aiden, Karen Cox, and Robin Helm


Gayle Mills reads an excerpt from Jan Hahn’s
The Journey.


Pamela Aiden’s readings were wonderful! I was enthralled by her use of British accents, especially cockney. I am not a shy person, and I love to perform, but I did not have her nerves of steel in front of a literary community. I guess I was so busy listening that I forgot to take a picture.

Next year, I hope that we can talk Laura Hile and Susan Kaye into joining us. Now THAT would be a party!

Robin Helm read from her Guardian Trilogy books, as well as Laura Hile’s Mercy’s Embrace: So Rough a Course.

Thank you to JASNA Atlanta, Barbara Tiller Cole, and Jan Ashe who worked so hard to make this event a success.

I also wish to thank those in the Atlanta area who made the effort to come and visit us. I was so happy to meet one of my betas, Julianne Martin, as well as Kathy Camp King. Gayle and I always enjoy being with Stephanie Hamm, our partner at Beyond Austen (and my excellent plot beta), and connecting with friends we had known only online was especially wonderful. I’m already looking forward to next year!

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25 thoughts on ““The company of clever, well-informed people, who have a great deal of conversation.”

  1. Monica

    I’m so glad you all had a great time! These are the first pics I’ve seen so far. Jakki looks so cute in her gown, and she said she loved hearing you read, Robin.

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  2. Gayle Mills

    I had a wonderful time, but I have to admit I kissed my recliner when I got home. We flew in or drove in from all over the country, but it was like a family reunion. It seemed as if we had known each other for years. I am going to lobby Decatur to move the festival somewhere cooler, like Greenland. In spite of the truly excessive heat, it was a memorable weekend.

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    1. Robin Helm

      I was amazed at how far some authors, volunteers, and readers had come. They came from Idaho, Colorado, Texas, Kentucky, Alabama, North Carolina, and South Carolina. There were probably other states represented as well.

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      1. lucy parker

        Ahem. I want to step up and be counted for Oklahoma! I think Gayle said exactly what I was feeling – it was a family reunion! So many different personalities and writing styles all in one place. Nirvana.

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      1. candymorton

        I would love to, but my plan is to go to the AGM in Minneapolis which is in September also. I don’t think I could do both.

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  3. Laura Hile

    Wow, Robin, thanks for posting this so quickly. Love the pictures! Love your comments! You knew we were longing for the inside scoop.

    Special thanks Jan Ashe, Barbara Tiller-Cole, and the Atlanta JASNA chapter for their tireless work in promoting Austen-inspired fiction.

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    1. Robin Helm

      I just couldn’t keep those to myself, Laura. When I downloaded them from my camera to my laptop, they were so good that I just had to share them.

      Next year, you’ll be in those pics, too. ; )

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  4. Ellen

    Wow! It is so cool to see pictures of all of you, my favorite JA authors! I guess I was guilty of thinking like my students, that you aren’t quite real people like the rest of us! I would have loved to be there.

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    1. Robin Helm

      I wish you could have come, Ellen. It was the same for me. I met people whose books I had read, and it was wonderful to get to talk to them. They truly were “the best company.”

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  5. Susan Kaye

    Writers aren’t really like other people, the ordinary clothes are a disguise. And book festivals are pat of the cove story. You know you’re with writers when things are winding down and they all have far away looks on their faces. Beware, they’re writing you into a plot!

    Thanks for the pics Robin and Gayle and Pam.

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    1. Robin Helm

      Shhhh, Susan! Nobody is supposed to know that. I did actually get some great ideas. What would happen if that many writers got together in one place and wrote a short story together? Hilarity!

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  6. Pamela (Aidan) Mogen

    It was a wonderful time despite the heat. Even at an AGM you don’t get this much time to interact on a personal level with other authors. The prize goes to Jan Ashe and Barbara Cole for pulling together a monumental effort with such grace and aplomb and under such “heated” circumstances. Bravo!

    Next, the thanks go to Robin and Gayle for graciously carting me about. What an adventure to be in and meet for the first time beyond this blog as well! Sweet beginnings of a life-time friendship. Thanks, girls! Hope you both have retreated to blissful, air-conditioned comfort!!

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    1. Robin Helm

      We so enjoyed getting to know you, Pamela, and I hope our friendship is only beginning. I have hardly left an air-conditioned environment since I left the tents in Decatur.

      I agree that Barbara, Jan, Randy Bennet, and the rest of JASNA Atlanta did a fantastic job! Kudos to all of you!

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  7. Jakki L.

    Ladies, I already have it marked on my calendar for next year! It will be so much fun to get together again! You all are so wonderful (as writers and people)! Thanks for making my weekend memorable! πŸ™‚

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    1. Robin Helm

      It was wonderful to meet you, Jakki, and I would never have received my delicious package yesterday if we had not gone to Atlanta. ; ) That reminds me – I have something good to try for breakfast today!

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Why yes, we DO want a piece of your mind. ;-)

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