I’m a bit slow as this post is about “Teamas” which ended in January. If you’re wondering what it is I’m going on about, I’m talking about the “12 Days of Tea,” a tradition begun by my lovely wife in 2013. For each of the 12 days following December 25 I get a little tea-related gift, leading up to Epiphany (January 6). Officially, the last day of Christmas celebrations.



Starting at the Top Left and working our way down:

  1. Walkers shortbread & Twinnings tea Gift Pack
  2. Godiva stocking of chocolate covered pretzels
  3. Manatea tea infuser (I have some great loose-leaf tea and can’t wait to use this)
  4. Twinnings English Breakfast (My usual go to.  I only show 1 bag here, but she got me a 100-pack)
  5. Republic of Tea 3-Tin Christmas collection
  6. Box of Stash decaf English Breakfast
  7. Sealable glass container
  8. Pack of straws (for stirring my Thai hot tea)
  9. Tongs for picking out tea bags
  10. Teabag holder for tops of mugs (so it doesn’t fall in, and to hold the bag after so it doesn’t drip everywhere).

You’ll notice I am short two items.  The first one is a replacement Aladdin Infuser Tea Mug (It was Day 1). I LOVED my first one but broke it.  I’ve desperately missed having it for regular commuting and travel. My wife bought me a replacement. Not easy considering they quit making them.

You can see it has the mesh container for tea and a lever so you can brew to the exact strength and then pull the tea OUT. Also, the double-walling REALLY works. Having burnt myself several times, I can vouch for its ability to insulate. So, so, so happy to get a new one.

Image from Cindy Ho Designs

And of course, you may have noticed I have yet to mention the 12th and final Teamas gift. Well, it was so awesome, it deserved its very own post. Coming soon, I shall regale you all with – Tea pets!  And if you don’t know what that is…neither did I!

“Baba Ali and the Clockwork Djinn” made a “Best of 2014” list!

I am so very jazzed and so very humbled to see “Baba Ali and the Clockwork Djinn” on Best of 2014: Medievalpoc Fiction Week Masterpost.  Check out the graphic below.


And of course a lot of my excitement is seeing it listed with some utterly amazing works from the last year – Saladin Ahmed’s Throne of the Crescent Moon, Willow G. Wilson’s Ms. Marvel, and Brian K. Vaughan’s Saga just to name a few. All of them personal favorites. I now also have some great NEW books to add to my “To Read” list. Yay!

But perhaps most of all, I ADORE Medieval POC and it has been a favorite Tumblr of mine for years. To see my book and name included on their page is probably one of the most awesome things I’ve had happen this year. And it’s only January!!!

PS If you haven’t heard of Medieval POC you should check them out:

The focus of the [Medieval POC] blog is to showcase works of art from European history that feature People of Color. All too often, these works go unseen in museums, Art History classes, online galleries, and other venues because of retroactive whitewashing of Medieval Europe, Scandinavia, and Asia. Sometimes it’s just about really looking at artworks you’ve seen many times before, with a fresh perspective…

…The ubiquity in modern media to display a fictitiously all-white Europe is often thoughtlessly and inaccurately justified by claims of “historical accuracy”; this blog is here to emphasize the modern racism that retroactively erases gigantic swaths of truth and beauty.

#Reading at the #Smithsonian Archives of American Art – A Day in the Life: Artists’ #Diaries

Gave a reading at the Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art today at 4:00pm (and yes, NR Brown participated too). Best. Event. Ever. From their website:

A Day in the Life: Artists’ Diaries from the Archives of American Art

Reading an artist’s diary is the next best thing to being there. Direct and private, diaries provide firsthand accounts of appointments made and met, places seen, and work in progress—all laced with personal ruminations, name-dropping, and the occasional sketch or doodle. Whether recording historic events or simple day-to-day moments, these diary entries evoke the humanity of these artists and their moment in time.

On January 1, painter Jervis McEntee was broody, sculptor John Storrs was reflective, printmaker Blanche Lazzell was optimistic, and painter Karl Zerbe was hungover. Learn how these and other artists rang in the New Year.

Jervis McEnteeIt is a super cool exhibit with some amazing stories from artists’ lives. I got to read from the diary of painter Jervis McEntee. They have 5 volumes of his diaries that span the years from 1872 to 1890 and are rich in details of the art world in America at the time. He’d often been accused of painting melancholy and sad pieces.  He defended himself by saying he was painting what was there. He was part of the Hudson River School, which was the core an American art movement that was mostly of landscapes (and landscape painters) whose aesthetic vision was influenced by romanticism. Which, as it seems was similar to romantic poetry, I am not surprised by that description of McEntee’s work. He was a member of the National Academy of Design’s old guard and fiercely opposed the influences of modern and avant-garde painting in Europe.

McEntee, sadly, seems to have gotten more attention for his diaries of the time period than for his art.  In his writing, he often ruminates on the art market, patrons and collectors, the weather, and his works in progress. His entries often seem just as pensive and melancholic as his art.

Transcription, January 1, 1874

Thursday, January 1, 1874- It’s a strange and a somewhat sad sensation to write the New Year the first time. It seems to me that the year which has just passed has been too full of cares and worries to have been as profitable as it might have been for me and I enter upon this new one with no well-defined plans and not much hope that my material interests will greatly improve. I hope however I am learning something towards adapting myself to my condition and accepting the lot which it seems so difficult to change. It might be much worse but I can see how it might be much better. I have begun the New Year as I ended the old with work for in that alone I find real peace and enjoyment.

I have to admit, sad as his entry was, it was also inspiring. So very glad I got the opportunity to participate in this event with some other fantastic folks.  What was also especially moving was to have the great-niece of one of the artists get to read her great-aunt’s work.  Special shout out to Curator of Manuscripts, Mary Savig.  What a great way to bring this history to life!William Christopher Diary

As an example of some of the other AMAZING pieces available:

Reubens Peale writes about the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and waiting in line to see the body

William Christopher’s account of the march from Selma to Montgomery

Cecilia Beaux talks about the sinking of the Titanic

*As a note to anyone reading this, make sure you check out what may be going on in your local library or museum.  You may be missing out.

Smithsonian Photo of Readers at Diary Exhibit

A Bit of Fun – Random New Year’s Resolution Generator

Hey, everyone’s doing it, why not me? Following along with some Facebook friends, I tried out the Random New Year’s Resolution Generator.  You can click on the image to discover your own. This is what I got:
New Year Resolution via Zimbio

Ummm, wha…?!?!


Image: In 2015, I, Day, Resolve to…write the next ’50 Shades of Grey’ and make a gajillion dollars.