Monday, January 16, 2017

Monkey Jungle

By Kristy McCaffrey

Over Christmas, my family and I went on our first-ever cruise. My husband and I were celebrating our silver anniversary and wanted a way to bring our college-aged children, significant others, and grandparents together in an easy way. One of our stops was the Dominican Republic, where we visited Monkey Jungle, a sanctuary for squirrel and capuchin monkeys who have been rescued from the exotic pet trade and the inevitable abuse that occurs from it.

A squirrel monkey mama and her baby.

Squirrel monkeys.

We first entered a large enclosure with each of us bearing a plate of banana slices and raisins. Although we were told not to touch the squirrel monkeys, the monkeys didn’t get the memo. While they have little affinity for humans, they’ve been conditioned to approach for food, and to everyone’s delight they hopped all over us. It was a unique opportunity to see these little creatures up close.

My mom making a new friend.
My daughter Kate making an offering.

The mamas were quite agile with the babies on their backs.
My son Ben.
Ben's girlfriend, Layla. She was very nervous, but check
out the photo below.

My son Sam.
Sam's girlfriend, Alex. I think she got this little
guy to pose.
This is me, trying not to startle them, although they
certainly startled us.
My dad.

The monkeys didn't seem to mind all the attention.
In a smaller enclosure nested inside the larger one, the sanctuary also housed several capuchin monkeys. These much bigger primates were so aggressive that we were cautioned not to approach the cage. Capuchins can be quite manipulative and will entice you close with air kisses and the waving of their hands only to steal your iPhone and break it.

Capuchin monkeys.

The capuchins, unfortunately, were all severely abused and bear long-term emotional scars. Our lively guide—a young biology student from Minnesota—shared that socially they are all a bit off. For instance, one of the males has no interest in female capuchins and has instead imprinted his romantic longings on the human biologist. She says there are times when their interactions become a bit weird.

Another male, who is the largest and should therefore be the alpha, has no idea how to attain that position, so a smaller male has filled that spot. Apparently, one day the larger one accidently fought back and by rights became the alpha. He was so distraught that he cried all day because he had no idea what to do. Within a day, the group of females had turned away from him and given alpha status back to the smaller male.

Monkey Jungle is a well-run facility and their work in helping these challenged monkeys is admirable.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

A Massive Giveaway

Lit Ring Giveaway

I’m participating with over 300 authors for a huge promotion this month and there are awesome prizes!!

All you need to do is answer a few questions on a very fun quiz. You’ll discover new-to-you books based on your answers.

And what can you win?

1 ~ $500 gift card
4 ~ $100 gift cards
1 Kindle Fire
1 Nook Color
1 iPad Mini
1 Kobo Aura

Don’t wait - enter today!

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Resolve Your Resolutions

By Kristy McCaffrey

It’s that time of year again.

I recently came across the concept of Sankalpa from the yoga tradition. A sankalpa practice begins with the premise that you are already enough to fulfill your life’s dharma. The trick, then, is to focus your mind, connect to your most heartfelt desires, and channel the divine energy within. Sounds easy enough. Hah.

My writing goals last year were lofty and I didn’t reach them. My latest release (The Bluebird) was a cool ten months late. So, as I look at what I want to accomplish in 2017, I’m feeling both ambitious and cautiously guarded, knowing how easy it is for such plans to go out the window.

A few items on my to-do list for 2017:

**A new website.

**Distribute my Wings series at multiple vendors (they are currently exclusive on Amazon and the Kindle Unlimited program, but that will end this week; my goal has always been for wider distribution).

**Create an audio option of Alice: Bride of Rhode Island (if all goes well with this book, I’ll move on to the Wings series).

**Create a newsletter-exclusive novella tied to my Wings series (this is almost complete and is titled Song Of The Wren—it features Matt, Molly, Nathan, and Emma two years after The Wren and The Sparrow, with a cameo from Cale—be sure to sign up for my newsletter to get all the deets as soon as they’re available—this story will be FREE to newsletter subscribers).

**Release the first book in a new contemporary series. The first novel is titled Deep Blue and features a marine biologist studying great white sharks. It’s a sexy, adventurous story that I hope to release in the spring. It will be followed by two more books, tentatively titled Cold Horizon (about high-altitude mountain climbers on K2) and Ancient Winds (a female archaeologist in Bolivia). These three titles will be tied together with siblings, but I hope to write more books that will be loosely linked to these characters as well. I’ve been sitting on these story ideas for quite a while; with my Wings series now complete, I decided it was finally time to focus on these books. Creative concepts tend to gnaw on a writer and make them irritable if not eventually released.

I have a few more goals, but I’m not going to overload myself. I owe it to my husband to not be so burdened by work that I’m a grump all the time. So, I will focus on the new books, which are truly a desire of my heart, thus allowing the writing muse an easier path (and maybe an easier flow during the first drafts).

If we accept that we already have the tools we need to succeed, then the inner path of resistance can be quieted and we can simply get to work.

Here's to a productive 2017!


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