Wednesday, November 25, 2015

4 People In Hamilton That I'd Never Heard Of Before

Since seeing the Broadway show Hamilton, I've been listening to the songs on my iPod whenever I'm out and about. I'm notorious among my friends for learning lyrics quickly, but since Hamilton has a lot of lyrics--most of them rapped--we'll see how many of the words I'll memorize.

One thing the musical has done is have me back in historical mode. As I mentioned earlier this month, I knew some basics about Alexander Hamilton and a bit more on the presidential Founding Fathers--I went through a long phase as a kid where I read kiddie history books on the presidents. And of course, being American, I was taught early American history.

But as a true history nerd--and as a historical fiction reader and writer--I love learning more about a period or historical people and I especially love learning about the lesser-known people. They tend to be less mythologized than the more famous people, but no less interesting.

So, here are four people I'd never heard of before I saw Hamilton. For those who think they might see this show sometime in the relative-near-future, there be spoilers.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

A Very Unscientific Poll: Which Banner?

Okay, guys. I've decided to change the blog's banner.

Periodically, I get sick of looking at the same thing and want to change it. So:


Edited to add:
A few people wanted to see Number #2 with clearer font or font from number #1:

Wednesday, November 18, 2015


So what do I know about Alexander Hamilton? He was born in the West Indies. Founding Father. He's on our money. He wrote a lot of the Federalist papers defending the new Constitution. He did some important but boring work on our financial systems. He did stuff in the Treasury. He was shot in a duel in New Jersey by Aaron Burr and died. 

Oh, yeah, and he's the subject of the currently very buzzy Broadway musical hit Hamilton.

I went to see Hamilton with two of my friends tonight (well, last night as of this typing). Every so often, there's a Broadway show that gets a ton of buzz and sells out tickets like crazy...this show is that show, so we counted ourselves very lucky to have sprung for the tickets relatively early. 

Hamilton is about Alexander Hamilton's rise to prominence in American politics, from the Revoluton to being Washington's right hand man to Secretary of the Treasury, including his marriage to Eliza Schuyler, some scandals, and his long friendship/rivalry with Aaron Burr. It painted a portrait of a very passionate, hotheaded, and complicated man...

...but the music (and most of the musical is sung-through) is, like, largely hip-hop. There are rap duels between Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson (who was costumed in a fabulous velvet purple 18th century waistcoat and breeches), there's R&B, there's a hilarious recurring ditty sung by Andrew Rannells called "You'll Be Back."

Andrew Rannells plays George III. You know, the king the American colonies wanted to dump. It's probably un-American of me to enjoy George III that much. But he was so archly funny ("They say George Washington's yielding his power and stepping away. 'Zat true? I wasn't aware that was something a person could do.") And I want a scepter to wave around in my everyday life now. 

Megalomaniac? What? Me? 


Another favorite: Jefferson taunting Hamilton after the Reynolds pamphlet: "Well, he's never gon' be President now."

Lin-Manuel Miranda as Alexander Hamilton. From the New York Times.

Also, the vast vast majority of the parts are played by black and Hispanic actors. That's right, a bunch of dead old rich white men played by a very diverse cast--and other than the usual parsing of figuring out who's who, it's not even anything to think about. See, Hollywood? You can cast actors of color! You can cast them in parts that white people would play! You can have them play the roles of the people who founded our country.

The time period in the musical is suggested through the costumes. Of course, there's a historical element to all of it which I loved--and realized how little I actually know about Alexander Hamilton and the very earliest years of the United States. But with the music, the cast, and frankly, the repeated reminder that Hamilton was an immigrant and the foreboding mentions of dueling (guns), Hamilton is also a story that is very much about the now in America, too.  I'm like 99.99% sure that Hamilton will win next year's Tony for Best Musical. I can't wait.

Monday, November 16, 2015

A Call for Guest Posts + Short Story Writing

I feel like I've been neglecting the blog as of late. When I said earlier this year that I felt like I was running out of things to blog about, it wasn't entirely a joke.

So, I'm calling on my creative friends to consider coming on and writing a guest post. :-) I love learning about new things and reading different experiences, so hit me up!

I'm not doing NaNoWriMo this year. I've been writing a short story which is bound for a collection a writing friend is putting together. I recently read through the publishing contract for said collection--my first publishing contract, y'all!

I feel like it's taken me ages to draft this story, but then again, short stories aren't my usual medium and my first drafts are usually on the shitty side, so I'm trying not to be down on myself. I'm very nearly done with my draft and then I plan to ask my usual writing and critique buddies to take a look before I submit in early December.

I was watching TV earlier today and had an idea that'll make the story a lot more interesting. And last night, I saw a flash of a scene that I can end with.

I know the story will end when I can see the ending somehow.

Friday, November 6, 2015

More Japanese Stories, Please


My aunt found this the other day when she was cleaning. It's a sakubun my cousin wrote for Japanese school--an essay. My two older cousins and I went to Japanese school on Saturdays growing up (for the record: I slept with my eyes open through most of it). This sakubun is special because it's about me as a baby.

I wish I could read Japanese better. I can just about read the sakubun. I suspect that our grandmother dictated this to my cousin because there's no way that an 8-year-old boy is going to write things like, "My cousin is really cute and I like her very much."

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

It's Like the Full Moon by Glorie Townson!

It's IWSG time! We post about our writerly insecurities every first Wednesday of the month. Come join us here! Our awesome co-hosts for the November 4 posting of the IWSG will be Stephen Tremp, Karen Walker, Denise Covey, and Tyrean Martinson! 

Anyway--instead of sharing my insecurities or triumphs this month, I am offering my space to another IWSG member---Glorie Townson! Scroll down for a short interview on her new release, It's Like The Full Moon!

See other reviews, interviews, and follow this tour here.
Title: It's Like the Full Moon
Series: Sayings Series 1 Author: Glorie Townson
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Reading Level: Adult
Content Rating: PG-13
Formats: paperback and ebook
Pages: 235
Rebecca has just turned thirty. She’s happy living a perfectly comfortable and predictable life. She’s even ready to marry her long-time boyfriend whenever he finally gets around to asking her. But all that changes when her best friend whisks her away to Italy for a much-needed vacation.
In the midst of site seeing and finally letting loose, Rebecca manages to catch the eye of a young English tourist; but doesn’t let it go to her head. By the time she’s back in the States and back in the arms of her long-time beau, Rebecca has already forgotten about Peter, Paten, Paul…whatever his name was, that is until he shows up at her brother’s cabin in the woods.
A life of normalcy, routine, and stability gets turned upside down as Rebecca decides whether or not she’s truly ready to get married. And if so, who is the one she’s really meant to be with?

1. Where did the inspiration for It's Like The Full Moon come from?
There are two answers to this question. First, I started writing this book because I wanted to prove to myself that I could. I’d only recently began to have a real appreciation for romance as a genre and thought, what better way to pay homage than to pen my own tale of love in a modern world. Second, since my romance reading experiences were limited and still developing, I looked to films of the genre that have stuck with me. After reading the blurb and diving in to the first few chapters, the influences of A Room with a View, Moonstruck, and How to Make an American Quilt become quite evident. 

2. What do you enjoy the most about writing romance? 
 It’s funny that you ask that because I didn’t really like the process of writing romance at first. For this project I had to invoke a long dormant muse by the name of Glorie to help me through this process, and for that reason, she’s given the author credit. 
For so long I’ve dwell in the realm of the speculative, writing mostly paranormal, fantasy, and sci-fi. When I started to write It’s Like the Full Moon, none of my usual techniques worked and I became frustrated. After a while though, I began to accept that that plotter needed to let go a bit and my muse to revel in all the drama I’m usually trying to avoid. From that point forward, I enjoyed just letting the story flow into its simplistic end. 

3. Tell me a little bit about your heroine, Rebecca. 
 Rebecca is a bit more Toi that Glorie except for one small detail, she’s a true girly girl. She’s the type of heroine you don’t expect much from at first but then you see how she’s capable of change and unyielding strength. Even if you don’t grow to love her, you have to respect her. 
I like that Rebecca is soft spoken and practical, and that she only really lets loose when circumstances are beyond her control. Ultimately, she’s the heroine of this installment because it doesn’t take long to realize that she’s a binder in the making. When one character, whose role is to hold the family together, is removed from the scene, it’s Rebecca who becomes the familial and friendly glue.

4. I know this book is the first in The Sayings Series. How do you think the next story will take off from this one?
 The fact that this story has spawned a series is still a bit of a shock to me. The idea of the Sayings as a series came from beta readers demanding the stories of the other characters be told or developed more. With the way this one ends, there are so many places the next one could start off; I’ve already made up my mind how to proceed, but I can’t tell you that now. I will however give you a hint. One character who seems to be all alone won’t stay that way, while other characters who seem to be settling down will just be starting their adventure.

5. What does romance mean to you?
For the longest time I thought romance was all the relationship drama I didn’t have time for. Then one day I realized that while there are some universal themes of romance, that romance can be many different things to different people. Part of the challenge I posed to myself was to write a love triangle that was believable because so many others I’d experienced seemed fake or rushed. 
But on a personal note, to Glorie, romance is all the crazy things we do in the name of love because sometimes simple and easy doesn’t get the job done. Romance is the catalyst to passion, and I truly hope readers discover the passion within themselves, for the significant others in their lives, after seeing how Rebecca finds hers. 

This book is currently available for Pre-order as an ebook through and as a paperback direct from the author. Be sure to pre-order your copy at its reduced introductory rate and save your receipt number to earn extra entries into Glorie's cool giveaway
Pre-order Kindle | Pre-order Paperback | add to Goodreads
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Glorie Townson is more than just a pen name for the author, Toi Thomas; she's an entirely different personality. Glorie is the softer side of Toi, who puts down her comic books and picks up a volume of Robert Frost poems. Like Toi, Glorie is happily married to her wonderfully supportive husband, and together they share a home with their pet turtle, Betty. This is Glorie's first publication, but she's already feeling the inspiration to pen another tale, to which she'll gladly share with the world. 

I hope you've enjoyed this stop on the 
It's Like the Full Moon Tour and will consider
supporting the Thunderclap to announce the 
official release of this book. 
The giveaways for this tour will include:
a $5 gift card, signed and personalized 
digital sneak peek, and something for everyone.