Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Animals and writing

It was my turn to pick the topic this month. My question for the Sisterhood of the Traveling Blog was:
How do your pets/kids/plants (something you take care of) influence your writing?  Do they help you, or distract you?  Do you include them in your stories?

People rarely inspire my fiction, but the animals in my life often have.  I’ve even named a kitten after one of my characters, then used his personality to guide the character’s behavior.

I’ve asked what my darling, long deceased Mystic would have done if she’d been human and in such a situation.  Her ghost informed me she’d never act as silly as humans do and would never have gotten into such a situation.  When I reminded her of some of the stunts she pulled in life, she just stared at me with that cool cat stare that says “You’re thinking of someone else, but I’m too polite to correct you.” LOL!  She was good at that.

My family had horses when I was a teen, and horses are often supporting characters in my stories.  Occasionally they have more personality than my humans.  Horses are more than a mode of transportation. They have feelings and reactions and quirks, and they most certainly are not cars that can run forever without tiring.  Horses are fairly fragile, and die from misuse or accident, in real life and in my fiction.

Churchill, my current owner cat, is purely a distraction. He insists he needs to lie upon my keyboard.  No way, my lad.  That’s one of the few battles I’ve won.

How do animals affect your writing? Do you like stories with animals as significant characters?

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Tooting My Horn

I’m embarrassed to be writing this post.  I hate to blow my own horn.  I don’t even like to talk about my writing, or myself.  But if I don’t tell you what I’m up to, how will anyone know?

Sooooo, I’d like to announce that I’ve released two new Mantua-Maker historical sewing patterns this year.

1870 - 1890 Sunset Knoll Polonaise, Redingote, and Tea Gown

   Three major variations for dressy or severe styles.  It can be made as a ball gown, an evening gown, or as a working woman's plain, tailored redingote.  Personally, I love the Tea Gown version.

1880 - 1895 Artistic Classical Gown

    While it really was worn by the Artistic set, this dress with its Grecian-style undergown are perfect for a masquerade.  It's surprisingly simple to make, and I think it looks wonderful.  (I know, I'm biased. :-)

My other news:

I’ve also opened two shops on Etsy, an online marketplace for handcrafted items.  My first shop, MantuaMakerPatterns, was intended for my historical sewing patterns, but my mom asked by to sell her bead work and my dad’s silver jewelry.  I said, “Sure thing!”

Four jewelry boxes later (and more still appear intermittently!), I opened a shop for them – I wasn’t sure how many more boxes would appear.  Not feeling terribly original that day, I named it MomNDadsJewelry. 

I hope you’ll have a look.  I’ve included links to both shops in my side bars.

What have you accomplished lately that you’d like to share?