Happy 236th Birthday, Jane Austen! My Gift to You is…

(Do not open until December 16th)

A big thank you, first of all, to Maria Grazia of My Jane Austen Book Club and Katherine Cox of  November’s Autumn for inviting me to join in their Jane Austen Birthday Soiree. Check out the GIVEAWAY at the end of this blog–that would be a present for YOU! 

I’m raising my virtual glass of madeira in celebration of Jane Austen! These two fabulous blogmistresses were so kind as to ask me what I would give her for her birthday and…

A toilet?

With all due respect, my first thought was, I would most certainly give Jane Austen a fully functioning, flushing, modern toilet. No doubt Chawton Cottage, where she wrote most of her novels, did not have a water closet, and I would do one better and give the authoress a modern toilet. Certainly this would make her life, and her writing life, more comfortable! What? It’s so practical!

But then, a very selfish thought came over me. Jane Austen had to write laboriously, with quill and ink, paper and blotter. Now, this seems very romantic to us moderns who rarely write by hand any more, *sigh*…


In our era of texts, facebook messages, emails, writing with quill and ink, by hand at all for that matter, seems quaint and precious.


(An 1804 draft of Jane Austen’s The Watsons)

Ink blotches, spills, and the time it takes to dip the pen in ink aside, I cannot imagine writing on paper, in such linear fashion, with cross-outs. What would I do without my DELETE button? Without being able to CUT and PASTE? To insert at whim? I look back on my early college years with a typewriter and white-out and shudder. No wonder I was up all night typing and retyping. It had nothing to do with procrastination, did it?

Which brings me to my point of a selfish birthday present for Jane Austen. Forget the toilet. That would be just for her. I would give her something I’m coveting (hint, hint Santa).

 A Mac Air for Jane Austen.

With a Mac Air, Jane Austen could write so much faster! Just imagine. Instead of just six completed novels, we might have sixteen, or more. So you see, my gift to her would be, essentially, a gift for myself, of more novels written by her. This would be a gift for you, too, dear readers!

For the romantics out there, I offer you Jane Austen’s sister-in-law, Martha Lloyd’s recipe for making your own ink for your quill pen. This recipe also appears in my book, Definitely Not Mr. Darcy:

Make Your Own Ink:

Take 4 ozs of blue gauls [gallic acid, made from oak apples], 2 ozs of green copperas [iron sulphate], 1 1/2 ozs of gum arabic. Break the gauls. The gum and copperas must be beaten in a mortar and put into a pint of strong stale beer; with a pint of small beer. Put in a little refin’d sugar. It must stand in the chimney corner fourteen days and be shaken two or three times a day.

I, for one, will be looking for a Mac Air under the tree. Until then, Happy Birthday, Jane Austen!!!

A Present For You–The Giveaway!!

In honor of Jane Austen’s birthday, I’m giving away two signed copies of DEFINITELY NOT MR. DARCY plus a Jane Austen candle, tea, and a coaster. Simply leave a comment below and remember to include your email address! If you have no idea what to say, you can comment on what you think about my giving Jane Austen a Mac Air. 

Contest ends December 23rd.

  Please check out the rest of the blogs and giveaways in the Jane Austen Birthday Soiree:

Sharon Lathan Giveaway : Miss Darcy Falls in Love

O! Beauty Unattempted Giveaway: Letters of Love & Deception

Austenprose Giveaway: signed copy of Jane Austen Made Me Do It

SemiTrue Stories Giveaway: Mr Darcy Little Sister (open worldwide)

First Draft Giveaway:  a signed copy of “My Jane Austen Summer” and a package of Lily Berry’s Pink Rose Tea by Bingley’s, Ltd.

Regency stories set against the backdrop of Regency England Giveaway: I was Jane Austen Best Friend by Cora Harrison

Brant Flakes Giveaway : A canvas ACCORDING TO JANE tote bag and a pair of A SUMMER IN EUROPE luggage tags.

Mesmered’s Blog Giveaway : Anna Elliot’s  “Georgiana Darcy” (Kindle book)

The Heroine’s Bookshelf   Giveaway :  a set of Potter-Style Pride and Prejudice notecards  

vvb32 reads Giveaway: Jane Austen’s Little Instruction Book (Charming Petites)

ReginaJeffers’s Blog Giveaway:  An autographed copy of “Christmas at Pemberley “

Alyssa Goodnight    Giveaway: Jane Austen Action figure

Jane Austen in  Vermont Giveaway:  JASNA 2012 calendars from the Wisconsin JASNA Region

Jane Started It!  Giveaway:

  • One copy of Young Master Darcy: A Lesson in Honour by Pamela Aidan
  • One set of Frederick Wentworth, Captain (Books 1 and 2) by Susan Kaye
  • Two copies of Mercy’s Embrace: So Rough a Course (Book 1) by Laura Hile
  • George Kinghtley, Gentleman (Books 1 and 2) by Barbara Cornthwaite.

Choc Lit Authors’ Corner Giveaway:  a copy of “Persuade Me”  and one of “The Importance of Being Emma”

Reading, Writing, Working , Playing Giveaway: a copy of  “Intimations of Austen”, and Sense & Sensibility (Marvel Illustrated)

The Jane Austen Film Club  Giveaway:  a copy of Northanger Abbey DVD starring Felicity Jones and JJ Feild (The winner will choose region 1 or 2 DVD)

El Salón de Té de Jane Giveaway:  – Spanish edition of Sense and Sensibility for the 200th Anniversary + A DVD package with adaptations of Jane Austen

Kaitlin Saunders Giveaway: “A Modern Day Persuasion”

One Literature Nut Giveaway: selection of Austenesque Reads

Patrice Sarath Giveaway: A copy of The Unexpected Miss Bennet

Jane Austen Brasil Giveaway: DVD – Sense and Sensibility (1995) – English / Portuguese subtitles

Jane Austen Sequels  Giveaway:  a mug with one of  Jane Odiwe’s illustrations and a copy of her “Mr Darcy’s Secret”

Stiletto Storytime Giveaway: Noble Satyr by Lucinda Brant (Regency Romance)

Jennifer W. Becton Giveaway: An ebook of the Personages of Pride and Prejudice Collection, which contains all of my Austenesque works: Charlotte Collins, “Maria Lucas,” and Caroline Bingley. The giveaway will be open internationally.

Urban Girl Takes Vermont Giveaway: a copy of Vera Nazarian’s gift hardcover edition of her inspirational calendar and diary, The Perpetual Calendar of Inspiration

Pemberley Variations

AustenAuthors Giveaway:  Georgette Heyer’s Regency World by Jennifer Kloester

November’s Autumn Giveaway :$10 B&N Gift-card (US only)

My Jane Austen Book Club Giveaway : A selection of Austenesque reads




  1. Jane’s writing was so neat! I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw it. But your idea about a Mac is great. I’m always imagining how many awesome novels she could have written.
    Beautiful blog! Congrats!

  2. Thanks for the giveaway!

    A laptop for Jane…somehow I can’t imagine. But hey, if it would enable her to write some more, I’m all for it!


    calicocritic at gmail dot com

  3. Sophia Rose says


    I think you should really splurge. It’s not every day that a gal passes the two century mark. Give her both the porcelain throne and the Mac. That Mac is a swoon-worthy gift for a gal who had to grow the ingredients for her own ink. Hey, its still swoon-worthy to me. Good choice!

    Thanks for the giveaway opportunity. I have heard such wonderful things about your book that I’m glad you chose to make it your giveaway choice.

  4. The thought of Jane Auusten with a laptop has made me giggle, and it’s an incredibly depressing morning here weatherwise, so thank you for that!


  5. Completely knocked it out of the park with your birthday tribute/gift idea, Miss Karen! LOL What a perfect 21st c. gift, and wouldn’t she just love to have one!! I can see her now, tucked away in her own bedroom suite replete with its own luxury bathroom with sunken, whirlpool tub, sauna and heat lamps. She could order up a late night snack, a cool glass of champagne and clip away on her Mac telling her stories about parties in Manhattan or Boston, Palm Beach or Hollywood…. On the other hand, though, maybe she’d just be sitting alone in her English cottage near The Duchess of Exeter’s home village with her Mac and a teacup nearby. Either way, fabulous birthday gift idea!

    I’m looking forward to the possibility of winning your book and the goodies. So happy you decided to join the giveaway for Jane…

    Deborah/TheBookishDame thebookishdame(at)aol(dot)com

  6. Karen – As always, I love your sense of humor! The idea of giving Jane a computer had crossed my mind. If she lived today, what kind of car do you suppose she would drive?

  7. Lol, awesome idea 😀 *dreams about the books Austen could have written* Awwww what a great thought

    booksforlife01 gmail dot com

  8. Love the gift idea. I am sure she would have appreciated both. but especially the Mac!

    Thanks for the giveaway

    colleenday at hotmail dot com

  9. Great idea about the computer! I would give her a copy of Jane’s Fame. Of course, I would give her many extra yrs.

  10. Arianna Rafi says

    If only Jane had a laptop back then! We would have so much more to enjoy from such a wonderful author! She may have even completed her unfinished novels as well. As for the toilet, I couldn’t agree more! Poor Jane (as well as the rest of the world) would have been much better off with a flushing toilet! Haha! Thanks for being a part of this!


  11. What a delightful birthday Miss Austen will have!!!

  12. I actually think indoor plumbing would make a great gift. Happy Birthday Jane Austen. arianne(dot)hartsell(at)gmail(dot)com

  13. How about giving Jane Austen a phone to keep up with all the local gossip.

  14. Mary Marshall says

    If only we could give Jane a laptop and have more books to read, sigh… Oh wait, as long as we are fantasizing, notice my email address? I think I would be the best nest thing to sending Jane a Mac. I’ll expect mine by return mail!

  15. I would love to win this book. I bought a copy and now it is making the rounds with my firends. I fear I will never get it back. 🙁 They just love it! I knew I should have read it first!

  16. i love love love jane austen. definitely would want to win the signed books.


  17. I think a laptop for Jane Austen is an excellent gift idea! I proposed it myself on a couple other blogs today. I would love to be chosen for the drawing.

    Happy Jane’s Birthday!

  18. I think a Lap TOp for Jane is a fabulous gift idea!

  19. Happy B’day Jane Austen! Love the laptop idea 🙂

  20. Andrea Staten says

    Happy Birthday Jane!
    A laptop would be perfect. 😉


  21. Happy Hirthday Jane! After reading about making my own ink, I’m sure Miss Austen would appreciate a laptop. She’d catch on to typing and deleting real fast!


  22. Patricia Finnegan says

    Happy Birthday Jane

    The laptop seems to be a good idea. I can just imagine her typing away as soon as she got over the modernity of it

  23. I see I forgot to post my email address (though the comment form does ask for it), so here it is: lisaquing@gmail.com (I posted above about the laptop gift.)

  24. Haha, yes a Mac is goo 😉 And fantasy is not necessary for our Jane. Fantastic birthday for Jane!

  25. Julie Freeman says

    I loved this! Happy Birthday Miss Austen and here is your mac!

  26. It certainly makes writing so much faster with a laptop. 🙂 Thanks for the opportunity to win!

    danae (dot) kannely (at) gmail (dot) com

  27. ::cracking up::

    Either I’m especially tired, or all of you are in particularly rare form in creating your birthday tributes for Jane 🙂 LOVE it! And yes, I’m in agreement with you: with a Mac Air she could write so much more…and the world totally needs more Jane!


  28. A laptop for Miss Austen…. I think she would be pleased.
    Would this enable her also to connect to the Internet? With all this talk about how our brain changes with the use of modern technology, I wonder what this will do to hers.

    Anyway, Happy Birthday Miss Austen!


  29. Perfect gift! Yes!! More Jane Austen novels!!!!!!! And nothing better than a Mac (sorry PC peeps, but I am a Mac person too)

  30. Great idea! Happy Birthday, Jane Austen!
    Lia Freitas

  31. Jennifer Leiker says

    Oh yes! A Mac Book Air would be a wonderful gift! I have a Mac and love it! Oh the stories she could write

  32. I think a MacAir is PERFECT! And Steve Jobs would approve. 😉 Happy Bday, Jane!

  33. Bonnie W. Carlson says

    An inspired idea for your blog! I would love to see Jane’s reaction. And what she would write about learning to use it. lol

  34. I hope you have/had a wonderful Jane Austen birthday 🙂

    Heh, a macbook for Austen. I rather like the idea of her writing on paper, but perhaps she could have written more had she used a laptop?

  35. Jane with a Mac would be a whoot. Thanks for the contest!!! Happy Birthday Jane!!!

  36. Karen, It may be selfish, but so many would benefit from your gift to Jane!! I’m all for it!

    Happy birthday, Jane!

    This is the best blog hop ever!
    Thank you for the giveaway.

  37. Jane writing on a laptop, well that´s funny 😀 Happy birthday to our dear Jane!

  38. What a great way to celebrate Jane’s birthday, by writing letters. I’ve been a devoted fan ever since I saw Emma Thompson’s Sense and Sensibility. I’ve read all the books a couple of times since then. Thanks.

  39. I loved your post! Toilet and a Mac… perfect.

  40. Oh I love your idea for Jane and I hope Santa is listening for you. What a splendid idea this would be or an ipad loaded with Austen apps. I love the soiree and I already own the book, in fact I am staring at it right now. Just wanted to swing by the stops as a way to say thank you to all of you ladies.

  41. as long as jane has electricty to power the mac air and a way to send us all she writes, this would be a great present.
    when she heard the door creak she could simply close the lid to keep everything preserved.

  42. A computer is the perfect gift, along with electricity. Thanks for the great post and giveaway Karen

  43. What great and practical gifts to give our dear Jane for her birthday! Happy Birthday Jane! Thanks for the giveaway!!=)

  44. Melisa Procell says

    I – like everyone else would like to win. I started reading when I was in first grade and haven’t stopped. Now I’m a Mom and I starting reading books to the children when they were babies. They like to read. I’m a Jane Auten fan. I love her writings and the era in which she lived. I think you’re right, a toilet and a mac book would have made her life easy. But I bet her books would have had a different feel to them. Happy Holidays From, Melissa

  45. I think Jane would be thrilled to get the toilet! She’d have to keep it hush-hush though, or else everyone she knew would be coming over to try it out! LOL

    The Mac Air would be a great gift, too. Who knows how many more wonderful stories she would give us!


  46. Judith Monarrez says

    Love the giveaway and the thought of Jane using a Mac Air is a great idea!

  47. Those are great gifts!!!! And a great giveaway. 🙂

  48. A toilet? Snert! I had decided to give her a pen, but now you make me doubt myself. I think you are right, a Mac Air would be much better! Thank you for the giveaways!! And happy birthday Jane!

    lcsieck at gmail dot com

  49. Cara Dragnev says

    OK–you gave me a good laugh with the toilet, but really, it would be a welcomed gift, I’m sure! Thank you for participating in the blog Birthday for Jane–HAPPY BIRTHDAY to JANE!!!


  50. A laptop, especially a mac is something I can see all too well, in fact!

  51. I love the toilet!!! Laughed out loud! MacBook Air would be a great gift. Happy Birthday Jane!

  52. I agree a laptop would be a great gift for a writer. plus it would fit that little desk she wrote on. Oh and the toilet another grand idea!

  53. I think a MacAir is a splendid idea!
    teabird17 atyahoodotcom

  54. I believe Jane would have left us at least twice as many novels if she’d had a Mac Air – can you imagine!?

    Great giveaway!


  55. A Mac Air would be wonderful for Jane. More than 6 books she could have written. That would have been so delightful!
    I would love to win a signed copy of DEFINITELY NOT MR. DARCY plus a Jane Austen candle, tea, and a coaster. That would be awesome!

  56. Karen, you don’t have to enter me in the drawing, since my copy of Definitely Not Mr. Darcy is awaiting me (somewhat impatiently) on my TBR pile, but I had to tell you that I laughed when I saw the toilet — an *excellent* idea! — and that I now want a Mac Air, too… 🙂

  57. Thanks so much for the awesome giveaway! This would be so amazing because its got some of my favorite things: books,candles, and tea. They truly do go hand and hand together. I can see it already, makes for such a wonderful evening! LONG LIVE JANE!!!

  58. Haha, the Macbook Air is a brilliant present for Jane! I thoroughly agree.
    I hope you get one too!

  59. Happy Birthday, Jane! I hope that you enjoy your marvelous new toilet as well as the wonders of the World Wide Web. 🙂

    Thank you for the wonderful giveaway and the fun post!

  60. Katrin Winkler says

    I´d like to see Jane Austens face when she starts the Mac and it´s actually doind things quite on it´s own 😀 :D.

    Would love to win the giveaway – as we all do 🙂

  61. Oh, happy birthday, dear Jane! 🙂 Wonderful!



  62. Karen, I totally agree with you on getting JA a Mac Air. Thus we can get to read more than 6 novels and her thoughts in progress. Heck, I even want one for myself.


  63. Thanks for joining us, Karen!!!
    It’s being a great, delightful celebration. Brilliant gifts for Jane, by the way 🙂

  64. Denise Adorian says

    Hello My Dear,Oh yes I would love to win a signed copy of your book.I would go with the toilet-BEST idea so far.Denise @ Denise’s Delights in her Coffeeberry Cottage. knuckled54@yahoo.com

  65. Love your gift choices, Karen! If I were Jane, which would I choose? It’s a tough one.

    See, I’ve spent rainy summers in a cabin in the woods with only an out house (or chamber pot under the bed). I’ve spent time with a broken laptop, too. But is writing by hand as rough as no indoor plumbing? 🙂

  66. Like the gift ideas. Thanks for the giveaway.

  67. I just wrote on another blog that I would give Jane Austen a computer, haha! 🙂


  68. Mary Preston says

    I think Jane Austen would **LOVE** a Mac Air. She would give us more works to read hopefully.


  69. First of all thank you for this wonderful giveaway, I would love to win a signed copy of your book! Then, I think Jane would be very happy to receive a Mac Air, I would be very very pleased 🙂


  70. Hmm, just think of all the lovely stories Jane could write on a computer! I can think of a few myself!


  71. If Jane Austen had a Mac Air then she could write faster novels for her audience . She could have a blog to have more followers .
    tumblemumbo at gmail.com

  72. Ooh, I would like a Macbook Air too! 😉 Great idea, Karen! Thank you for joining us for the Soiree.
    No need to enter me in the giveaway.

  73. a 236 years old woman needs as well computer classes! hahahaha

    loved it!

    my email is: syalnunes@live.de

  74. Melora Brock says

    I totally agree about getting her a laptop- I too have selfish desires to have her to able to produce more. I’d also send her the best doctor from our time with supplies to keep her healthy too!

    melorabrock {at} gmail {dot} com

  75. Noelia Demartini says

    With each passing year I find out more about you and your writing .. every year that passes I know only a few minutes … I would live forever in your stories, breathe the air and feel every emotion and your words a thousand centuries. .. as you continue to have this as I had in my heart every second, every moment … wrap me in your stories .. which we know from beginning to end. We know your thoughts … your deepest longings … your disappointments and fears.

    We understand, for all this … I feel a great joy to have you by my side (materialized in book) every night .. Happy Birthdays Jane!

    I would love to participate in the contest … I leave my mail .. pao22la@yahoo.es

  76. Giving Jane a laptop seems like a good idea, but I think it would be a huge shock for her.

  77. I too thought of bringing Jane into the modern age with a MAC! I know how I treasure mine but in the end I offered her more time and more quill and ink….there is something truly magical about the written word in the end. Thanks for the lovely giveaway and Happy Happy Birthday Dear Jane!

  78. your modern and useful gift are very kind 🙂
    Giving a mac air to jane austen is very good idea , as you said she can write more novels and she doesn’t need to cut or rub out what she wrote and could save money for somehing else and practical toilet is awesome !
    merry christmas


  79. Happy Birthday Miss Austen and congratulations to all who celebrate it like a dear friend’s birthday.
    The mac seems a very useful gift but also convinces the toilet. My e-mail address is tiernarebeldia@gmail.com

  80. The stories in Jane Austen Made Me Do It have a little something for everyone

  81. IdentitySeeker says

    Wow! I’m really impressed with your choice of a Mac Air as a gift to Ms. Austen. I couldn’t have thought of a better gift myself (although that would mean that she’s need electricity and a wall socket to charge her laptop when the battery’s low). The toilet and Mac Air are highly thoughtful gifts. I was thinking I’d send her a lifetime supply of pens and paper, but I kl=like your idea better. I hope you find your Mac Air under the tree this Christmas:)


  82. Happy birthday, Jane! I think, she would appreciate the toilet the most. I know, that I would if I were her.

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