Now Available

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Human Evolution and Women’s Sexuality -- Part IV: Why Do Women Bleed?

By Kristy McCaffrey

Don’t miss ~

Human males are saddled with a sexual desire that rarely wanes. While other male species will see a spike in testosterone levels in conjunction with the mating cycles of females, human males maintain a steady concentration year-round.


Because ancient human females had such high iron needs due to the many sources of blood loss in her lifetime (menses, childbirth, and lactation), a peculiar adaptation occurred in the male—constant, high levels of testosterone. One theory proposes that this pushed the male to take ever greater risks—to hunt that giant animal that could trample and kill him—all to return with iron-rich meat for the female and her offspring, his insurance plan for sex. But the side effect of this has been a disparity in the sexual needs of men and women.


Women require significantly more iron than men. Men have incredibly high testosterone levels which create an intolerable sexual tension that demands release. These two situations are intimately linked.

In many early cultures, hunting was equated with sex. The better hunter a man was, the more opportunities he had with willing females. To state it crudely, a good hunt exchanged meat for sex. Females encouraged this further by favoring males who were the best hunters, bringing back meat to replenish her lost iron stores.


But, ultimately, it was the adaptation of time that gave males the advantage they needed to become successful hunters. And it was the females who imparted this wisdom. Humans learned to anticipate the arrival of certain animals—migrations—and to plan accordingly. They gained foresight.


Because the female had sent the male out to hunt due to her need for iron and his never-ending desire for sex, she needed to arm him with an advantage. Naturally, over time, men would take the credit for this, but women know better. Due to her menstrual cycles, her sense of time changed. She could forecast into the future, and she shared this knowledge with the men. Learning to tell time is an exceptional evolutionary development, one that humans share with no other species. (Some creatures do exhibit similar behaviors, but these can be credited to instinct.)

Humans can plan, we can choose a course of action. We understand that one day, far in the future, the sun will cease to be. We know that we exist in a three-dimensional paradigm. Even the most intelligent of other species—dolphins, elephants, and higher primates—are unable to grasp these issues.

And this is perhaps why a woman’s menstrual cycle is linked to the motions of the Moon. Or, said in another way, because her cycles mirrored a lunar one, an inherent sense of time was born within the female mind.



In many cultures, menstruation is referred to as ‘the moon’. In rural India, the moon is believed to be the ‘cause of all time’, just as it is the cause of menstruation. Long ago, menses, the moon, and the duration of a month came together and forever changed a female human’s ability to navigate a different time-space.

In his book Sex, Time and Power: How Women’s Sexuality Shaped Human Evolution, author Leonard Shlain writes, “Foresight has proved to be the sexiest idea that Mother Nature came up with since Her clever invention of the penis two hundred million years earlier. Whereas the penis significantly advanced the fortunes of every reptile and mammal species that acquired one, foresight dramatically increased the fortunes of only humans, at the expense of all other species.”

Why do women bleed so much? Shlain posits that it is so humans could anticipate the future, something no other animal had ever before accomplished.

So, back to the initial question—why do women lose so much blood each month? The answer is because it was necessary for human evolution. And what was this evolution? Linking a woman’s bleeding, an event too big to ignore, with the cycles of the moon taught humans how to tell time. The ability to practice foresight was and is the most important asset we possess as a species.

The price for all of this was the depletion of iron in human females. To combat this, they reshaped their sexuality, incorporating a system of free will when it came to choosing sexual partners, and males were forced to comply with this turn of events. Negative outcomes have been patriarchy, misogyny, and the use of rape, but positives have been males who exhibit more kindness, compassion, and love to their mates—and offspring—than any other species on earth.

To learn more about this fascinating subject, I encourage you to read Sex, Time and Power: How Women’s Sexuality Shaped Human Evolution by Leonard Shlain (Penguin Books, 2003).

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

BRAND NEW Short Novella Release

By Kristy McCaffrey

***Yet another interruption to my series on Women's Sexuality. The final part will post next week. :-)

I'm so excited to share a BRAND NEW, never-before-published short novella ~ The Crow and the Bear. If you read The Crow and the Coyote, a spooky Old West romance that was released last Halloween (in the Cowboys, Creatures and Calico Vol. 2 anthology and more recently as a single sell), then you might remember that hero Jack Boggs had two brothers, Callum and Kit. This tale features Cal. I'm still brewing a story for Kit.


The idea for The Crow and the Bear came to me during the summer when my family and I visited Silverton, Colorado, an old mining town situated in an imposing valley of the Rocky Mountains. While touring the local museum I became fascinated by the Tommyknockers.

A Tommyknocker is a type of troll spirit who lives underground and was therefore of great concern to miners. The term originated in the British Isles, but superstitions surrounding the beings filtered into other places. Miners in Colorado took great care to appease the Knockers by leaving a bit of their lunch out for the sprites.



Standing about two feet tall with a grizzled appearance, many believe that Snow White’s dwarves were Tommyknockers. They usually wear standard miner’s garb and are responsible for any mischief that might befall a miner, such as losing tools and food.

The name derives from the knocking on mine walls that precedes a cave-in, which is usually just the creaking of earth and timbers before failing. Some miners believed the Knockers were malevolent beings, but others took them to be practical jokers.



In Cornish folklore, the Knockers were spirits of those who had died in previous mine accidents and were now trying to help the living, by warning of impending dangers. As an offering of thanks, miners usually cast the last bite of their lunch pastie (a type of meat pie) into the mines for the Knockers.



In the 1820’s, Welsh immigrants to Pennsylvania brought tales of the Knockers with them and their presence soon spread all the way to California. Belief in the Knockers remained well into the 20th century. During the closing of a mine in 1956, a petition was circulated by the miners to set the Knockers free (so they could move to another mine) before sealing the entrances, and the owners complied.


Bounty hunter Callum Boggs—sometimes called Crow—arrives in the mining town of Silverton on a cold October day in search of a man who has committed unspeakable crimes. Skilled in the technique of dream scouting, Crow has narrowed the location of the criminal to Silas Ravine. No normal man would dare to venture into this region, where so many gruesome and unexplained murders have taken place—a piece of land forever haunted where Death still walks. But Crow is no normal man...

Jennie Livingstone knows her papa is in trouble. When none of the local men will come to her aid, she must accept a newly-arrived stranger—a half-Comanche bounty hunter—as her only ally. As they head into the mountains to track Jennie’s father, she can hear more than the whispers of man. The mines carry spirits, and her only hope in navigating the living and the dead lies with the Crow.

But is Jennie prepared for the consequences of where her fate with Callum Boggs may lead? And is she the woman who can hold fast to the Crow’s heart after all his years alone? Bewitched by the beautiful young woman, Callum must do everything he can to stay one step ahead of the spirits that can’t rest—just to keep Jennie and himself alive.

99 cents





Thursday, October 15, 2015

Human Evolution and Women’s Sexuality -- Part III: What Do Women Want?

By Kristy McCaffrey

Don’t miss ~

“What must I do to convince her to have sex with me?”

If you strip away every cultural accoutrement, every interplay between the sexes, it whittles down to this basic question of males. Women acquired the ability to refuse sex as an adaptation to the dangers of childbirth—if she would die, she would choose when, where and with whom she became intimate. So, the age-old dilemma of men was born, “What do women want?”

On a side note, the issue of rape must be addressed. Men frustrated and unwilling to cooperate with these new set of rules put forth by human women have, and still do, practice the overpowering of females. They practice rape. This is not a healthy mating strategy and society consistently shuts down this taboo, yet, as we know, the practice continues. This has created a bitterness that still poisons male-female relations today.

But having the choice of saying no has come at a cost to women. Every month they bleed and deplete their stores of iron.


 So, what do women want? They want iron.

A red blood cell’s main function is to pick up oxygen in the lungs, transport it through the blood vessels, and deliver it to every organ in the body. A healthy man has 15 percent more red blood cells than a woman. In order to function, a red blood cell requires a protein called hemoglobin. At the center of hemoglobin is the element iron.


Iron leads to well-being and vitality and ensures that a woman can birth healthy babies. Women lose iron not just through menses, a process that will deplete approximately forty quarts of blood during her lifetime. Blood loss also occurs during pregnancy, when a mother transfers her iron stores to her fetus. The average dietary intake for a woman is about one milligram of iron per day. During pregnancy, she must transfer 350 milligrams of iron to her unborn child, the equivalent of a year’s worth of the mineral.


A third cause of iron loss occurs during delivery. Vaginal births can release bleeding in the pelvic tissues. No other mammal experiences such difficult births as a human woman.

A fourth cause of blood loss also occurs during childbirth, concerning the placenta. Human women are the winners in the placenta arena. It can transfer more nutrients more quickly than any other primate. But when the placenta separates from the uterine wall, nearly a full pint of blood will be discharged from the female.

A fifth source of blood loss is a bit more circumspect, but nonetheless important. All other mammalian females have an urgent hunger to consume the placenta when expelled. Human women have lost their craving for this delicacy. The placenta is filled with iron, amino acids and essential fats; it has everything a mother needs to replenish herself following birth. It’s the equivalent of one or two blood transfusions, but most hospitals label the placenta as toxic waste.

The final, and sixth, source of iron loss for women occurs during breast feeding. Infants must get all their iron from their mothers to fuel their immense brain growth. Lactational iron loss occurs more slowly over a span of several years.

Iron must be eaten, and unfortunately for humans most plant-based iron is unavailable to us. The human digestive tract lacks common but critical enzymes that aid in the absorption of iron from plants. But we can digest iron from animal sources. A side effect of our ancestors gravitating to a more meat-based diet was the shortening of our guts. This freed up more oxygen for our brains, and hence our brains became larger, and intelligence flourished. In general, carnivores are smarter than herbivores. A coyote is slyer than a cow.

Man as hunter is born.

Painting by Emmanuel Benner (1836-1896)

Don’t miss Part IV: Why Do Women Bleed?

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Two Short Novellas Now Available

By Kristy McCaffrey

My series on Women's Sexuality will continue on Thursday with Part III: What Do Women Want? but I wanted to pop in to share two short novellas that released today.

The Crow and the Coyote and Lily and Mesquite Joe are available in digital for only 99 cents.

The setting for The Crow and the Coyote, a paranormal western romance just in time for Halloween, is Canyon de Chelly (pronounced de shay). This national monument is located in northeastern Arizona within the boundaries of the Navajo Nation. Rock art and other excavations have revealed human habitation for at least 4,500 years, encompassing not just the Navajo but the ancient Anasazi as well. In the 18th century, the canyon became a major stronghold of the Navajo—the high walls offering protection and the streams helping to grow corn crops and peach trees.

It was here that Kit Carson, under orders from James Carleton—governor and commander of New Mexico Territory—sought to purge the Navajo and relocate them to the Bosque Redondo in New Mexico. The Long Walk, an arduous journey which encompassed well over 50 separate treks led by the U.S. Army, occurred from 1863 to 1866. The accounts of death by starvation, sickness, or violence left an indelible trauma on the people. Although they were allowed to return to Canyon de Chelly in 1868, they would never forget this painful period of their history.


Hannah Dobbin is after an evil Navajo sorcerer who murdered her father, and she's determined to see him dead. But she'll need a bounty hunter—The Crow—to help find this vile man. With Hallowtide upon them, more evil is afoot than they can handle; but love will find a way.

(This story was previously published in the anthology: Cowboys, Creatures and Calico Vol. 2)

Excerpt:

Hannah awoke before dawn from her pallet by the tiny fire she and Sani had allowed themselves. For the first time since her pa died some three weeks ago, her dreams had been calm. She turned on her side and watched the man called Crow, slumbering several feet away beside a horse he'd retrieved the previous night. The presence of both had kept the spooks at bay, and a feeling of safety washed over her.

She wondered if trusting the man was wise, but Sani grudgingly accepted him. Truthfully, they could use his help. None of the Navajo men would accompany them—they insisted on distancing themselves from the actions of two women not in their right minds. Hannah knew the beliefs of the Navajo—that stirring up spirits would not end well—but she had no choice, not if she wanted to help her pa. She knew, however, that if she and Sani weren't careful they could both end up dead.

Mr. Crow consumed a large space in this world with his obvious physical presence, and a look in his dark eyes that was both remote and calculating. She sensed he walked a fine line between justice and violence. It didn't frighten her, but she did wonder if she could trust him.

He awoke, stood, and immediately checked his horse. Then, he looked directly at her.

"Mornin'," he said.

* * * *
Also available today ~ Lily and Mesquite Joe.



Lily Kingston has long loved Mesquite Joe Riordan, but when he doesn’t step forward to protest her betrothal to another man—arranged by her papa—her heart breaks. When Joe is blamed for the murder of a ranch hand and disappears, Lily knows exactly where to find him. Facing the truth of his past will test her resolve, but only her stubbornness can win his heart.

(This story was previously published in the anthology Cowboy Cravings.)


Excerpt:

The following day and night she stayed close, waiting for the fever and delirium to break. That evening he awoke.

Relief blanketed her, along with anticipation. She scooted close to him.

“Joe?”

He opened his eyes, trying to focus on her but his confusion was clear.

“Lily? You’re…still here?”

“I came to help you.”

The flash of anger he directed at her took her by surprise. Her fingers halted mid-air; she’d been reaching for his arm as she spoke, wanting to touch him just as she had all these past hours. Slowly, she lowered her hand to her lap, and swallowed against the flush of humiliation that heated her cheeks. Deep down, she’d been certain he’d be happy to see her. Now, she wondered if she should’ve come. But if she hadn’t, he’d likely be in worse shape, his wound festering and no one to care for him.

“What happened?” he asked, his deep voice worn-down and hoarse. “I don’t remember…”

“You were shot,” she replied, trying not to feel angry herself.

* * * *
Coming October 22 ~ A BRAND NEW short novella featuring another bounty hunting Boggs brother. Stay tuned!!


To catch all the latest news from Kristy, sign up for her newsletter.



BUY LINKS  

The Crow and the Coyote  Barnes and Noble    Smashwords     Kobo    iBooks

Lily and Mesquite Joe  Barnes and Noble    Smashwords     Kobo   iBooks




         

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Domestic Violence Awareness Month

(My current series will continue next week. In the meantime, I wanted to share an important article with you written by a journalism student at Arizona State University. -- Kristy)

By Alexandra Whitten

The beginning of October marks the start of national Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Phoenix City Hall, which will be illuminated by purple lights throughout the month, hosted the Domestic Violence Awareness and Resource fair Thursday for the Paint Phoenix Purple campaign.

Paint Phoenix Purple was started in 2013 by the city to raise awareness for domestic violence. According to the city's website, the campaign's goal is to educate and provide resources for citizens and victims alike to one day reduce and eventually eliminate domestic violence.

The atrium of Phoenix City Hall filled with purple, the official awareness color that has a long history of association with domestic-violence prevention. Different organizations set up tables at City Hall to provide information for all who attended the fair.

Phoenix City Hall, Arizona.

Bobbi Sudberry, mother of Kaitlyn Sudberry, a victim of a domestic violence, set up a particular table on Thursday. Kaitlyn was 17 years old and ready to study wildlife sciences at Northern Arizona University. But she fell prey to a violent relationship.

"She was taken from us far too soon," Bobbi Sudberry said. Kaitlyn was murdered by her boyfriend the morning of January 8, 2008 after a break-up went horribly wrong.

After the loss of her daughter, Bobbi made it her mission to help victims of domestic violence through the organization Kaity's Way.

Bobbi also advocated for the passage of "Kaity's Law," which allows legal protection for those in relationships, romantic or sexual in nature. Victims are now able to obtain an order of protection, officers can arrest attackers with or without a warrant, and offenders receive three strikes including domestic violence. After the third strike, it becomes a felony.

Another group present was the Arizona Anti Trafficking Network, represented by Kathleen Winn, one of the founders of Paint Phoenix Purple. The AATN, according to the group's website, has the aim of ending sex, drug and human trafficking. The group was at the fair to show support for domestic-violence prevention.

"Although everyone who's a victim of domestic violence isn't a victim of trafficking, 100 percent of the victims of trafficking are victims of domestic violence," Winn said.

Paint Phoenix Purple also has collaborations with younger crowds. Sergio Gomez, community initiatives specialist for Paint Phoenix Purple, reaches out to schools for art and dance contests.

"On October the 15th, there will be a community event to highlight the youth who participated in our art contest and our dance contest this year," Gomez said.

This is year three of a five-year initiative for the event, and Gomez said so far it has been striving toward community reform, a youth task force and raising awareness.

To end the first night of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Paint Phoenix Purple hosted "Light up Arizona." Phoenix City Hall, the Maricopa County Administration Building, Tovrea Castle at Carraro Heights, and the lights in front of the Phoenix Convention Center were lit purple.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Human Evolution and Women’s Sexuality -- Part II: Women Bleed And There’s No Practical Purpose

By Kristy McCaffrey

Don’t miss ~

Let’s talk about periods.

At the beginning of a new cycle, the interior of a human uterus appears dead. Slowly, as ovulation approaches, an orchestration of hormones creates a lush farmland. Both estrogen and progesterone levels rise steeply. Blood vessels flourish, growing fat and full. If fertilization doesn’t occur, Mother Nature swiftly discards the entire setup. Estrogen and progesterone begin to slowly retreat, but then plummet drastically. The entire system goes into a death spasm. Within this tomb, a lake of blood forms, and like a dam breaking, gushes forth to the cervix.

Whenever any organ tissue dies and remains in the body, toxic substances are released and threaten the life of the host. For human females, slowly releasing these substances isn’t possible, so a process was needed to rid her body quickly of pathogenic bacteria and poisonous byproducts of cellular death. The solution was the opening of the cervix, uterine cramps to discard the lining, and the elimination of 4-8 tablespoons of blood. A woman’s period has begun.

Back in caveman days, menstrual odor would have been a serious attractor of predators. Add to that the general fear present in the males. A bleeding animal becomes weaker and a hunting male would take this as a sign of impending death. But what about when he caught a glimpse of a bleeding human female? She wasn’t injured and didn’t become weaker. Intercourse would likely leave blood on the penis, adding to a man’s fear of castration. Distance would soon be sought from menstruating females, since their condition was unexplainable and relegated to the realms of magic. This would soon breed fear and resentment toward women.

Establishing rules of conduct, geared mainly around hygiene issues, would have been of high concern to early ancient peoples. Unfortunately, many of these instructions have been used to strip power and autonomy from women over time. Pliny, from the first century, warns men that a menstruating woman can, by her touch, “blast the fruits of the field, sour wine, cloud mirrors, rust iron, and blunt the edges of knives.”

Women have always seemed to intuitively know that during menses a time of rest is required. With the body being so vulnerable, it is nature’s way of protecting a defenseless organism. During a woman’s period, she is more susceptible to uterine infections. Toxic-shock syndrome occurs because a tampon has prevented the discharge of menstrual blood, allowing harmful bacteria to take hold.

Historically, cultures celebrated the onset of menses in a young girl by enacting any number of initiations and rituals. Consistent throughout all of these was to impress on the girl that she was in possession of a great power and responsibility, and she was not to dispense future sexual favors easily for they were quite valuable.

Other mammal species have loads of babies—cubs, kits, puppies and the like—without the loss of significant amounts of blood and protein-rich tissue monthly. In fact, while dogs bleed during their period of heat, they’re also blessed with the ability to lick themselves, thereby recycling that iron trying to escape their bodies.

Overwhelmingly, there is no scientific evidence to support a benefit to human menstruation. What purpose does all this bleeding serve? With so many drawbacks to the human female, why hasn’t natural selection eliminated it long ago?

Don’t miss Part III: What Do Women Want?