Not only do we both write, but we both work at the same museum. Newlin Grist Mill is a 1704 water powered grist mill and nature preserve.
A damsel is a young woman, sometimes known to be in distress, but it is also part of the grinding system of a mill. A distaff refers to the female half of a family but it is also a staff that holds flax to be spun for linen cloth. I’m not sure which of us was supposed to be which piece of equipment.
We liked the idea a lot but in the end went our separate ways. She did, or is still doing a fascinating series on the use of horses in fantasy fiction, which turned into a dissertation on which breed to give your protagonist and why.
I have taught beginning riding and run a boarding stable but there are few horses in my work. I finally realized that the only fictional animals I had were a cat I had consciously put in the kitchen of my protagonist’s mother and a carriage horse named Benjamin who appears once to take everyone to the courthouse.
Actually I haven’t seen too many horses in my daughter’s work either, though she does have a "Box of Cows".
I decided I was letting a bit of experience slip though my fingers so several years ago I started a story with a horse. Medusa is an all-purpose sturdy horse who (horses are all “who” and not “what” to me) serves as mount and companion to my character, Iccarus Norton. The horse came first. Medusa stumbles over a body in the snow as Iccarus dozes on her back. She came into my head as her own fully formed character. Dark bay, with no white markings, stocky, steady and kind. Far from beautiful. Not the race horse, but the trustworthy fellows who pony them to the starting gate. She never goes lame, eats whatever is at hand, stands patiently when required to do so. Iccarus takes good care of her, seeing to her needs before his own, because he knows exactly where he would be without her. She doesn’t have a big part in any of the stories, but she is always there waiting.
Perhaps she needs a story of her own. “Medusa Saves the Day.”
Meet Iccarus and Medusa at: http://darkhousebooks.com/
Newlin Grist Mill: www.newlingristmill.org
A Box of Cows can be found here: http://www.amazon.com/Box-of-Cows-ebook/dp/B004IK94T6/ref=la_B004KJ04PI_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1347465855&sr=1-1
Bodge's web site is here: http://elizabethingleerichards.blogspot.co