Thursday, September 22, 2016
By Kristy McCaffrey
I’d like to share background on the formation of my historical western romance series, the Wings of the West. When I began developing characters and ideas, the titles intuitively came to me—The Wren, The Dove, The Sparrow, The Blackbird, and the forthcoming final installment, The Bluebird. How I would tie the birds into the storylines was a great unknown as I began each tale, but one thing emerged rather quickly—an underlying psychological theme of the journey of the feminine psyche.
In The Wren (Book One), the heroine Molly has been abducted by Comanche when she is nine years old. At nineteen, she finally finds the means to return home to Texas, to search for the life she’d lost so abruptly. We must all leave the safety of ‘home’ at some point in our lives to grow, whether physically or metaphorically, and the lesson is always that home isn’t a place outside of us but an internal sanctuary that we must nurture within ourselves. Molly’s journey comes full circle when she makes a home with the hero, Matt.
In The Dove (Book Two), Claire lives in a saloon run by her mama. While Claire herself isn't a soiled dove, she still faces the decisions many women face—does she live a life for herself or for others? How many times do women prostitute themselves because they don't feel they're worthy, or they perceive they have no choice? How do we 'use' others to gain our own ends? Claire also yearns to become a doctor, and this addresses the idea of healing through outside, external means. These can be effective, but only to a point. This leads to the next book.
In The Sparrow (Book Three), the heroine Emma undergoes a shamanic journey of initiation while traversing the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. During this process, she is helped by her power animal, Sparrow. Life causes wounds—we all have them—and while mending these are often sought through medicine, at some point an internal journey will be required. It’s the only way to truly heal the soul. While today we might seek the counsel of a trained psychologist, many indigenous people used the medicine man or shaman. The techniques of both are strikingly similar.
In The Blackbird (Book Four), Tess is a storyteller, A Keeper of the Old Ways; this is, and always has been, connected with imparting wisdom and magic to listeners through the telling of tales. She meets a hero who nurtures and protects this side of her, as any true life-partner should. Stories have the power to heal. It is yet the next step in mending the heart and the soul.
In The Bluebird (Book Five ~ coming October 31st), the heroine Molly Rose (niece to the Molly in the first book) yearns to travel and see the world. She connects with a man who can help her achieve these goals. The final step in the psychological journey—once healing has been undertaken and a new, better version of oneself is achieved—is to take all that’s been learned and go forth in the world. Life is an adventure and is meant to be experienced as such.
Stay in touch with Kristy
Thursday, September 8, 2016
By Kristy McCaffrey
The first humane society in North America—the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA)—was founded by Henry Bergh in New York in 1866. Its purpose was, according to Bergh, “to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States.” He established the ASPCA three days after the first legislation against animal cruelty was passed by the New York State Legislature. He had prepared these laws himself.
In 1873, Bergh made a lecture tour of the western U.S. which resulted in the formation of several similar societies. The American Humane Association was created in 1877 as a network of local organizations to prevent cruelty to children and animals.
One consequence of Bergh’s work was the establishment of an ambulance corps for removing disabled animals from the street and a derrick for removing them from excavations into which they had fallen. He also invented a substitute for live pigeons with artificial ones as marks for sportsmen’s guns.
The Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (MSPCA) was founded in Boston in 1868 by George Angell and Emily Appleton. Angell, after reading about two horses that were raced to death by carrying two riders each over 40 miles of rough roads, began a high-profile protest of animal cruelty. He also created a publication—Our Dumb Animals—as a way “to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves.” (“Dumb” refers to the fact that animals can’t speak.) The following year, the Massachusetts General Court passed the first anti-animal cruelty act.
By 1886, 39 states had adopted statutes relating to the protection of animals from cruelty, based on the original laws set forth by Henry Bergh in New York.
Today, the ASPCA is one of the largest humane societies in the world.