What a Year It Has Been!

It’s Loveyoubye’s first anniversary today!

Me, Pete, Janeen, Dawn

It has been an entire year since I hit the stage at Laguna Beach Books clutching my fresh-off the press memoir, Loveyoubye. There I sat with bad hair, (perfectly reflecting my fear-filled chaotic thoughts), feeling as if I were about to be dashed on some invisible rocks below. I am a bushbaby after all, more comfortable in the wilds and anonymity of the Zambian bush. Instead, it turned out be one of the most exciting experiences of my life. Call it an “emergence,” if you will. You can read all about it here.

Since then my journey with Loveyoubye has been exhilarating, life-affirming and exhausting (it takes a lot to get a book noticed!). Along the way, I’ve made some wonderful new friends. And then as a bonus, during the last six weeks, Loveyoubye has received three awards: Feathered Quill’s Silver Award for memoir, finalist in Forewords’ IndieFab Book of the Year, and finalist in the International Beverley Hills Book Awards.

Looking ahead, on April 18th, I’ll be at The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, on the USC campus in Los Angeles, meeting and greeting, and signing books. I’m really looking forward to it. The festival is a book lover’s dream, and this year I’ll actually be a part of it.

Meanwhile, I’m charging ahead with getting my novel, Monkey’s Wedding published. It’s all spiffed up and making the rounds of agents and publishers. Mine Dances, the sequel, is next. I’ve got to ramp it up a bit after all those changes I made to Monkey’s Wedding.

What I’m really looking forward to though, is starting something new. I’ve got a couple of ideas gestating. Onward!

N is For Night Ape

The night ape is one of the smallest primates in the world, about the size of a squirrel, commonly found in the forested parts of Africa. The Afrikaans term is nagapie (little night ape). Another name for the delightful little creature is bushbaby, which I adopted (see my blurb). Despite its size, the night ape is exceptionally vocal, producing loud shrill cries surprisingly like those of a human baby.

I can attest to that, I had a bushbaby as a pet when I was thirteen: Little One. We got him from one of those Congolese trader s who used to stand by the side of the main roads to the other Copperbelt towns peddling everything from monkeys to parrots. The poor creatures were almost always starving, some of them barely a couple of weeks old, after being taken from mothers who’d been killed for their babies. I died a thousand deaths every time we passed one of these men.  Thank God, it wasn’t that often.

Little One could fit into the palm of my hand when we got him. During the day, he slept in my dressing gown pocket, which I kept in my wardrobe. He got around by making kangaroo-like hops across my room or by simply walking or running on all four legs. When he got a fright, he’d shoot straight up in the air to a height of at least six feet with a loud shriek, his eyes almost popping out of his head. He loved to bounce from my dressing table to my desk to the curtain valance and then hang there before dropping down onto my bed. Mostly, I slept like a log. Other times, I’d call to him and he’d snuggle into my neck, making small tock tock sounds, his tail curling around my face in swirl of downy fur. And then one day, he got out. I was heartbroken. I kept a lookout for him for a long time.