Monday, September 1, 2014

September 2: Twitter chat on historical fiction

If you're into Twitter or historical fiction, or certainly if you're into both, check out the Twitter chat on historical fiction that will be happening tomorrow. Hosted by Erin Lindsay McCabe, author of the novel "I shall be near to you,", it will take place on Twitter on Tuesday, September 2nd from 9-10pm EST (aka 6-7pm PST), using the hashtag #IShall.

There will be a bunch of book bloggers and historical fiction authors participating, including my own dear spouse Alex Myers, author of "Revolutionary", also found on Twitter at @MyersWriting.

So while this post isn't directly about letter-writing, I can confirm that both "I Shall Be Near to You" and "Revolutionary" include some fine epistolary elements -- and really, nearly all of us who are writers are also enthusiastic readers. So join in that Twitter chat tomorrow night if you're interested!

Check out Erin's blog post for full details of all the participants, plus a couple of helpful tips about how to participate fully.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Vintage sparkly unicorn stickers

Vintage Unicorn stickers

One of my goals for the long weekend (along with writing lots of mail and spending tons of quality time with the kittens) is to list some new items in my etsy shop that I've had for a while now. First one achieved: these Vintage sparkly unicorn stickers.

Vintage Unicorn Stickers (with Stella)

Don't these vintage sparkly unicorn, heart, and rainbow stickers just take you on a journey right back to the 1980s?

The listing includes 2 strips of stickers with 5 perforated squares each. Each square measures roughly 1.5 inches and contains 3 stickers (one unicorn with rainbow mane, one pair of red hearts, one crescent moon in a circle with rainbow stripes), for a total of 30 stickers. (Kitten not included.)

Vintage Unicorn Stickers Close-up

I love these stickers a little too much... I'd better sell some before I use them all up myself!

Vintage sparkly unicorn stickers on etsy

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Letter Writers Alliance Social Sunday

Stella helps with the #lwasocial

The fantastic Letter Writers Alliance Social Sunday is happening right now! Participate in letter-writing all over the world today, and join in the virtual social by posting with the hashtag #lwasocial on Twitter or Flickr. When my kittens are sleeping, I'm joining in - writing, Tweeting, and posting photos of letters (and kittens with letters).

Another great idea from the Letter Writers Alliance - if you join in the social, do say hi to me on Twitter!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Silver lining: kittens Oberon and Stella

Stella kissing Oberon

In July I lost my two amazing and wonderful cats, Soda and Magic. Both were 17 years old and I had them since they were kittens. They were about a month apart in age, I got them both when they were somewhere between 6-10 weeks old, and they died two weeks apart.

July was a devastating month.

We thought we would want to wait before bringing new cats into our lives, but in fact Alex and I were both inconsolable without cats. An empty apartment, devoid of felines, was more grim than I could ever have imagined. I hope it is a tribute to the memory of the love we shared with Magic and Soda that we have brought two 4-month-old kittens into our family and our hearts.


Oberon is a deep and total glossy black...


...and Stella is a "Torbie," a tortoiseshell/tabby mix.

Both are about 4 months old. They are not littermates, Oberon is about one week older than Stella, but they were fostered together and are a deeply bonded pair. They adore each other, groom each other, and even eat and drink out of the same bowls (at the same time!).

It's too soon to say whether or not they'll be mail cats, but I suspect one if not both will be future members of the Feline Postal Brigade. You can count on me for updates on that front!

I haven't been doing much mail lately, in part because of grief over Magic and Soda, and in part because these two adorable kittens have kept my hands full. (Kittens! I'd forgotten how wonderful and time-consuming they are.)

Thanks to everyone for all the cards and words of comfort over the losses of dear Soda and Magic... I can't even express the grief so I will stop trying, but I appreciate the kind expression from animal lovers and caring souls from all corners of the world. I apologize if this sounds maudlin, but it's been a very intense time... and I am so grateful to the new kitten love that Oberon and Stella have brought into our lives.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

DC OutWrite LGBT Book Fair on August 2

BREAKING NEWS: I'll be at the DC Outwrite LGBT Book Fair today - Saturday, August 2 - from 11am-?pm at The DC Center!

I'll be selling my postcards as well as my husband Alex Myers' debut novel, "Revolutionary."

In addition, Alex is participating on a panel discussion, "Writing Trans Characters" at 12pm, and giving a Reading from Revolutionary at 2pm.

If you are in the area, please stop by to say hello! The event is free and open to the public, and is sure to be an extravaganza of writers and readers.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

A life without Magic

A life without Magic
Magic P. Katt
March 1997 - July 25, 2014
Sweet stripey wonder-cat, kitty of my heart, rest in peace

We lost our dear, sweet cat Magic on Friday night. She had some seizures earlier in the week, and on Friday she seemed not to recover fully. After an evening of labored breathing when it was clear she was in pain, we once again made that awful final decision to end her suffering.

Sleepy Magic, Sleepy Soda

Her dear companion for 17 years, Soda, died just two and a half weeks earlier. I think Magic wasn't too interested in living life without Soda.

I am just devastated, without my two cat-babies who were with me for 17 years. This apartment without cats is grim indeed. I am still in shock, and can't believe they're both gone.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

On grief, loss, and missing Soda

Rainy Day Soda

Last week I broke the news that Soda, the cat of my heart, was gone. (Today I lost the best cat who ever lived.) Above is one of the last decent photos of her I took, or at least one of the last ones I really love, from late May. Here on this blog I usually posted photos of her on my writing desk or with stationery, but of course she was all over the place so I'm going to share a few of those views now.

Friends, I am grieving very, very hard. I knew I would be devastated when I lost Soda - I have loved all my cats, but she was just that extra-special one, the one who followed me around like a puppy and was my closest furry companion - and indeed I am a wreck. I keep thinking she should be there. Why is she gone? I keep seeing her out of the corner of my eye. I miss her terribly, achingly, constantly. In less conscious moments, I forget she is gone and then I remember. I expect her to be at the door to greet me when I come home. I expect to see her sleeping in her favorite spots.

Backtalk Soda

I expect to hear her meowing! She was an excessively vocal cat, and the apartment is so silent now without her (okay, occasionally very obnoxious) sounds.

One of the very hardest places for me is, in fact, my writing desk. Soda loved to be on my writing desk with me, sprawled out across whatever letter I was trying to read or write. As often as not, whenever I settled myself there, Soda would hop up and join me. I am so touched by the letters of condolence I have received from pen pals who didn't even know her, and I find tears running down my face as I read them at my writing desk and feel Soda's absence most poignantly.

Magic on her scratcher

Last week we had a very rough patch with our remaining beloved cat, Magic. Magic and Soda were not littermates, but I got them as kittens within weeks of one another. Magic came first, by just a couple of weeks. Other than those first weeks, Magic and Soda were together for their entire lives, 17 years. Although they didn't sleep together in their adult years, they would occasionally lick each others' heads; if not the best of buddies, at least the only other cat companions they had known (besides dear wonderful Memo, who was with them from 2001-2011). Who can say whether or not a cat grieves, but Magic did not show much interest in food, water, or the litterbox for a week or so, and was very mopey. She is coming back into herself and showing a bit more liveliness now, which cheers us greatly also.

Soda letter seal

I guess this post doesn't have much to do with letters or mail, and I hope you can forgive me that -- and bear with me as I am pretty low on the mail output (and pretty low in general). I do still have a lot of photo stickers, and a few photo stamps, with Soda's image, and I'm using them in her memory now. I miss my best Feline Postal Brigadier, and grief is a slow and heavy process. Thanks for bearing with me as I share that with you.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Today I lost the best cat who ever lived

Soda oversees another letter
Soda P. Katt
April 1997-July 7, 2014
My best cat, kitty of my heart, rest in peace

I still cannot believe this has happened, but today we had to put down my most amazing, best beloved cat Soda. She was fine yesterday morning, but yesterday afternoon she started a very quick and heart-rending deterioration. It was most likely a blood clot or a tumor. Yesterday afternoon she could not move her hind legs, and by early this morning she could only move her head. She was also clearly suffering, so we made that awful, final decision to end her pain.

Soda was with me for all of her 17 years, since she was a tiny kitten. I cannot believe my constant feline companion is gone. Longtime blog readers will know that Soda was a mail cat extraordinare, charter member of the Feline Postal Brigade, and a frequent "helper" with my letter-writing. I wanted to share this news of her passing with you all, with a plea for understanding that I am absolutely devastated and may lay low from letters and blogging for a while.

A very kind relative asked about donations in Soda's name; I will say that she came to me from the Gifford Cat Shelter, which is a truly wonderful no-kill cat shelter (or, as they say, "sheltering home for cats") that I support wholeheartedly. If you are one of those wonderful souls who is moved to make a donation in her memory, that would be the place both she and I support.

We are down to one cat - the ever shy and retiring Magic, who, while not much of a mail cat, is still a wonderful kitty and a great comfort. (Here's the irony: Magic is the one with health problems; we expected to lose her long before Soda.) She is sad along with us today; while she and Soda were not littermates, they were they same age and spent all but their first weeks of life together. Now I am off to cuddle Magic... please love and appreciate your pets (and all loved ones!) while you have them. You never know when you may lose them.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Postcard Happiness Project: send a postcard, make someone's day

I just learned about a sweet little project that I think my blog readers will love: The Postcard Happiness Project. Here's how they sum it up:
The postcard happiness project is a free initiative that enables us to send postcards to others who could benefit from a little postal kindness. This page is about potential happiness. It’s not meant to make you sad about challenging times. It’s designed to lift your spirits in the knowledge that there’s something small and inexpensive that you can do to lift a stranger’s spirits in a big way somewhere out there.
This is not for people looking for pen pals, it's for those of us who are stalwart senders, who just love to send mail anywhere, everywhere, without thought for a response.

On the Postcard Happiness blog, they post names and stories of people of all ages who need some encouragement. They could be depressed. They could be fighting cancer. They could be bedridden. They could have just suffered an assault. But they all need some brightness in their day, and you can send it in the form of a postcard.

No registration is required, and you can send as many or as few postcards as you'd like. The only cost is the postcard and the stamp. If you love to send mail, and it makes you feel good to make others feel good, go check it out.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Meeting a pen pal + mobile Letterpress

Pen pals meet!

So you may have seen my recent post about Alex Myers's reading in Brooklyn last Friday. It was a fantastic reading and a great trip, made even more special because I got to meet a pen pal ALL THE WAY FROM NEW ZEALAND! The lovely Erin Fae is in NYC for the summer to work on The Press Cycle Project: Letterpress on Three Wheels, an amazing traveling letterpress project to bring this special paperful joy to the masses.

Erin braved utterly torrential rain to make it to the reading - we were all half soaked, joking that we had swum there - and Alex took this photo of the two of us after the reading. I wish we had taken more, I wish I could have brought my awesome Letter Writers Alliance bag but I was afraid it would get soaked, I wish the photo of me were better... it is a testament of my love and appreciation for Erin that I post this photo in the first place, because I think she looks gorgeous and I am not so pleased with the photo of myself. BUT! Cross-continental pen pal meetings must be lauded as much as possible, and documented properly. So, voila!

I would also like to share with you Erin's fabulous Press Cycle Project, because even if you are not in NYC, you can still share the joy. (And if you ARE in NYC - may you encounter one of her magical spontaneous cycle-powered printings!) You can read more about it on her Kickstarter page, plus watch the cool studio, but here's the gist: she's building a mobile studio to teach people about letterpress printing, and will make prints on the go. I am a backer, and if you're a letterpress or paper lover (and really, if you're not - why are you reading this?), I'd encourage you to consider supporting her special endeavor... or at the very least, keep up to date on the project via @PressCycle on Twitter.

Her project only has 3 days left on Kickstarter, so don't wait - do it now!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Postcrossing stamp from Belarus

Postcrossing stamp from Belarus

I am so delighted by all the countries worldwide that have started producing postage stamps themed to Postcrossing -- and even more delighted when I receive them!

The latest offering, shown above, is from Belarus, and I am a big fan. I like the cheery letters and bright graphics, and especially the "Happy Postcrossing" wish that so many Postcrossers share with each other on our postcards.

So far I've received other Postcrossing stamps from the Netherlands (which somehow I've never blogged about before!) and Finland... so far, the one from Belarus is my favorite!

Hmm... what do we have to do to get a Postcrossing stamp here in the USA? Something tells me that's not too likely, but perhaps I'm just a pessimist.