Sunday, September 14, 2014

Mozart stamp from the Czech Republic

Mozart stamp from Czech Republic

There are many things I love about Postcrossing: the serendipity of unexpected postcards from around the world showing up in my mailbox, the fairness of receiving exactly the number of postcards that I send... but I also love the incredible variety of foreign postage stamps it brings me. I'm not really a stamp collector, per se, but I am certainly an aficionado, and I appreciate a fine stamp as much as anyone.

So I was extremely excited to receive this beautiful stamp of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, from the Czech Republic, issued in 2011. I find the design especially beautiful - not just a simple portrait or profile, but instead an active image of this vibrant personality in motion, conducting, superimposed over an image of the original score to Don Giovanni. It even illustrates what a clothing dandy Mozart was, with the fine frock and lacy cuffs. This one is a keeper!

For more information on the stamp, check out this fine blog post about Czech stamps.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

New page: Stationery Sources

Oberon likes my stationery shelves

I am often asked where I buy my stationery.

I used to direct folks to a sidebar on this blog, but that became cumbersome (it's not a direct link, after all), and felt incomplete. I want to explain why I like what I favor.

So, I finally finished a project I've been meaning to do for months: a big old page of links on my favorite stationery retailers (all online), and why.

Voila! Stationery Sources is now a page linked from the page navigation at the top of every page, and you can get to it from the old sidebar as well.

I hope you find it useful, and please share comments on your own favorite retailers.

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.