Braving the New World ~ An American Adventure

Braving the New World is planned as a historical-fiction series designed to immerse the student or adult in the culture of the time, seeing events as they happened, from that moment’s perspective, living alongside and dialoguing with the major figures, most of whom were significant in the founding and development of what we call America. The fictional characters help tell the story and provide context and background as well as entertainment. Just wait until you find out who some of those characters are!




Tea and Soda Pop with Shakespeare?

T&SP began as a series of three, youthful and entertaining, community-theater performances staged in 2016, when a goodly portion of the world honored the 400th anniversary of the Bard’s final exit, stage left. I prepared three scripts, pulled two easy-to-sing songs from my musical comedy A Shakespearean Tale!, gathered a select group of enthusiastic young actors from our past productions, rented a couple of costumes, and we had a lot of fun with Shakespeare!



Writing & Directing Musical Comedies!

This playwright, composer, director, and producer has always aimed at casting amateur youth, ages 5 to 20s, and usually an adult or two. The casts are lively and the music is live. I write for adults but entertain even the toddlers. It’s family-friendly fun and builds writing skills for every genre.


All Things History, Shakespeare & Writing

A resource for history buffs, teachers, and students. Books and blogs about American, British, and European history. Shakespeare from a playwright’s perspective. And ruminations on writing.

Nicks of Time and Pivotal Moments

Fascinating surprise after surprise! I have been delving into certain, 17th-Century, historical details this past year, while working on my Braving the New World series, and I have found a number of pivotal events and precipice moments that have shaped history (and our own lives) more that we can imagine.

We’ll never know all the many nicks of time, daring acts, and bold decisions that have caused the ship of history to set a new sail, changing course, or who we might be today had that course not changed. But we do know a significant number of those “nicks,” so I will mention a few that were new to me and that truly arrested my attention, in no particular order of importance or even date. read more…

Captain John Smith ~ A Man Most Driven

Man Most Driven CoverThis is a great and valuable read for anyone, but as an author, researcher, and historian myself, I absolutely loved it. And I greatly appreciate all the hard, thoughtful, thorough, and fascinating work done by Firstbrook, even though I had to wince through a few gruesome (but very real) events. Wow, should we value the sacrifices of those early settlers of America!

As a documentary type of fellow, Firstbrook did his own out-of-the-way traveling to see just how much of the legendary and almost mythical John Smith’s story he could verify. You may well be surprised. I now have a much, much clearer view of the deservedly famous Captain Smith, as well as a broader understanding of Europe, England, and America in the late 16th and early 17th Centuries. This is no dry history. This is an amazing and entertaining story, told well, and well documented. read more…

No Tea with Will (or the Pilgrims!)

Tea cups AbbyIt is hard for us modern-day Americans to imagine England without tea. What?! England without tea?! In Will Shakespeare’s day, that was (gasp!) indeed the case.

Have you heard the expression, “for all the tea in China”? It is from China that the drink made from boiled water and special leaves spread to Japan, Southeast Asia, Indonesia, and India. The adventurous Portuguese led the way for Europe. read more…

April 23 ~ A Significant Date for Some Famous People

April 23

The year 1616 was significant not only to Pocahontas, Squanto, and Captain John Smith, but also to men who would become two of the world’s most famous writers ~ William Shakespeare and Miguel de Cervantes.

They are both said to have died on April 23rd of that year, Shakespeare at a mere 52 and Cervantes at 68. Because of their works and their influence, English would become known as the language of Shakespeare, and Spanish would be called read more…

1616 ~ An Interesting Year for Some Famous People

London Bridge in 1616 as seen from Southwark with the famous spiked heads visible

London Bridge in 1616 as seen from Southwark with the famous spiked heads visible

Do you know who was in London in 1616? All at the same time? Lady Rebecca Rolfe, a Massachusetts Patuxet called Tisquantum, and the soldier-adventurer Captain John Smith. Did they meet? Two of them had a well-documented meeting. The third? No proof or mention, but perhaps a possibility, if we use our imaginations! Let’s find out more about what happened in London in 1616! And how it impacted the New World called America. read more…

Digging for 400-Year-Old Details

Claes Visscher's 1616 panorama of London featuring London bridge

Claes Visscher’s 1616 panorama of London featuring London bridge. Whitehall is 2 miles west (left) of the bridge, around the curve to the south, in Westminster. Note the spire & bell of St. Paul’s is missing. Lightning struck and it melted!

Ever try to get a mouse through Whitehall Palace in 1616? To do it with any reasonably accurate, descriptive detail is a daunting challenge, even with the wondrous resources of today’s internet.

First of all, it’s Whitehall Palace in 1616 ~ not what was created to become Whitehall in the 1530s by Henry VIII, and not quite what eventually resulted as the mind-boggling complex of Charles II in 1680 (there’s actually a diagram available for that one). read more…