A YEAR AGO TODAY, i saw hamilton on broadway
How did I get Hamilton tickets?
That's everyone's first question. (Always with quite textual subtext. I get it.)
I spent hours coordinating dates for my family (why do the kids have to grow up and take summer internships when I want to go to Broadway?), and more hours on sites that reviewed various seats at the Richard Rodgers Theatre and, most of all, hours on the ticketing site looking for non-resale seats that dovetailed all those things into 3 seats together in the middle of row L and 1 seat way up front. (Getting 4 together was a non-starter.)
I bought them in early November for the end of June show.
Life intervened, despite all of my planning, and my husband needed to be in Ireland with his mum during June, so my Hamilton-loving niece joined us for summer in the city.
Was it amazing?
Completely. For the first half, I sat in the front row (note: not the actual front row, but the first of the rows they sell tickets for - i.e., the second row) and I turned into a bolt of pure lightness and electricity the moment Leslie Odom, Jr. came out, stood like eight feet from me, and began singing.
("Singing" seems like the weakest of words to describe his performance.)
Also, Lin-Manuel Miranda kept making eye contact with me.
WITH ME! It was intense. And delightful. And giddy-making.
I know, probably I was imagining it. BUT, a friend of my kid's and his family were sitting two rows behind me, and they said I wasn't.
Also (I maybe mention this a lot), he retweeted me after the show and said that my son (who sat in the up front seat for the second half) and I were awesome. Excuse me, "so awesome."
The view from Row L was also amazing. The whole stage was a glittering kaleidoscope of power and motion and light and such gorgeous, gorgeous sound.
My niece didn't leave her seat at intermission or after the show until she'd finished journaling. Meanwhile, my younger son - the one who split the front row with me - waited at the pit and got a signature on his songbook from Alex Lacamoire. (Both sons were Hamilfans, but the younger, who is a budding composer, was the greater, so the seat split went to him.) The four of us floated out of the theatre and into the Greatest City in the World.
At any rate, to celebrate that amazing night, and also because it's very much in line with everything I want the world be, I donated today to Lin-Manuel Miranda's latest Prizeo campaign (benefitting the Immigrants: We Get the Job Done Coalition), and made an embarrassingly inept speech as I screened an adaption of the Hamilton song "Dear Theodosia" the sons performed for my Mother's Day gift last year.
You should donate!
Writing Let the Good Times Roll was a challenge, and not just because I transformed Chloe from antagonist (in Eye of the Tiger) to main character I spent every moment longing for Cajun food, and for New Orleans.
(Well, I wrote part of it while visiting New Orleans, so I wasn't longing for much then. Except for more hours to explore and eat and walk and talk and eat and eat and eat. Lucky me!)
As I do for all of my books, I created a Pinterest page full of the images that inspired me for this novella. Before you check it out, a warning: you will long to visit New Orleans for yourself! (As an alternative, read Let the Good Times Roll!)
I love fairy tales. Back in college, one of my classes had us write a modern take on a Grimm's fairy tale, and I've been exploring them ever since. But it wasn't until I heard about Decadent Publishing's Beyond Fairytales line that I thought about doing it again, as a romance this time.
They gave me Grimm's The Griffin - it's a fun tale with three brothers (including the requisite simpleton youngest), a sick princess, a series of impossible tasks, and a rather grim end for the king who didn't follow through on his initial promises.
I flipped it around so the female character was the underestimated one who wins against the odds, and set it in the fictional Texas hill country college town of Jackrabbit. I had a great deal of fun playing with the fairy tale tropes, the themes of the story, and giving my prince a happy ending.
I hope everyone has fun reading it! And visit my Pinterest board for Feather in Her Cap to check out some of the visual inspiration for this story!
I'm consolidating my various giveaways into one handy form!
You like free books? Free audiobooks? Review copies? All of the above? Just subscribe to my newsletter and you will get to pick one of my books, free.
(Share this with others, that would make you a superb human being.)
(You are already a superb human being.)
Are you a member of Goodreads?
Head over there and put your name in the drawing for a free paperback copy of RETREAT TO LOVE - but hurry! Entries close on 8/17.
This site is a finalist!
I entered melaniegreene.com in the West Houston RWA's Romancing the URL Contest. And it's doing well so far! I am one of three finalists in the Contemporary Category, so fingers crossed, y'all. Winners announced in August.
What do you think? Is my site beautiful enough to win?
As my RETREAT TO LOVE Pinterest board makes abundantly clear (as does the book itself, I suspect!), I think quilting is fabulous.
But I'm not especially talented.
Kind of a good thing, really, because quilting takes a ton of time, and if I was better I'd want to spend alllllllllllllll my time hunched over my sewing machine instead of hunched over a keyboard.
(I have poor posture.)
Regardless, I try periodically to put together a quilt that does me credit, and no matter how approximate my corners, I love the process.
I've written about some of the work I've done on my general books / life blog, and wanted to link to it here so y'all could check out my creations. But remember, Ashlyn in RETREAT TO LOVE is a far, far more talented artist than I could ever hope to be.
It's fun to compile Pinterest boards for each of my books, but I had to exercise some SERIOUS self-restraint when picking photos for the RETREAT TO LOVE board.
I'm so madly in love with quilt art, and would fill the entire board with it, but I am trying to highlight a couple of other things about the book, as well. Also I want to ensure accreditation - everything I've pinned was linked through the International Quilt Association, which brings the Quilt Show to Houston (where I live) every fall, and it's the best time of the year. The work on display there is simply stunning.
(I personally am not a very deft quilter, much less a fabric artist, so writing Ashlyn was some very serious wish fulfillment on my part!)
Ready to Roll is set just about entirely within Miguel's shotgun house in Houston. I love the history of shotgun houses, how well-suited to the (less than hospitable sometimes) climate of the city they are.
It was a lot of fun to use one as the stage across which Miguel and Janice move during their date. Made me want to move in to a shotgun house of my own! I bet my pets would love racing through from front to back doors, maniac pets that they are.
As I'm sure you can imagine, one of the delightful parts of creating a character like Serena who is obsessed with getting a home of her own that she can decorate just the way she likes, is getting lost online looking at decorating photos and imagining exactly what Serena's dream home will look like. I get to do all the planning and none of the painting! Win-win!
While the photos I pinned for Serena's house aren't exactly what she created as her haven, they definitely hit the mark. And for a little contrast, I included Dillon's only home decor items of note. :) Well, I guess I could add a pic of a bookcase overflowing with second-hand sci-fi novels, but I think his posters convey the gist of his decorating priorities.
He totally loves those posters.
Hmm, I wonder what Serena would do with them in her perfectly decorated home? In the bedroom because at least they match the color scheme? Or would she reframe them in antique gilt frames and hang them in the dining room? Perhaps persuade him they'd look great in his office?
(True confessions time: that 'these would be great at your work' ploy worked for me / my beloved's prized prints!)
Writing is a journey undertaken by the mind in conjunction with the soul....