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Blog Tour: Against All Odds by Jacqui Murray

Happy Sunday, everyone!

Today I’m happy to host Jacqui Murray, a fellow blogger and prolific author as she launches Against All Odds, Book 3 in the Crossroads series. I’ve read most of her work and hold a special fascination for her prehistoric thrillers. Here’s the summary for her newest book:

A million years of evolution made Xhosa tough but was it enough? She and her People finally reach their destination—a glorious land of tall grasses, few predators, and an abundance that seems limitless, but an enemy greater than any they have met so far threatens to end their dreams. If Xhosa can’t stop this one, she and her People must again flee.

The Crossroads trilogy is set 850,000 years ago, a time in prehistory when man populated most of Eurasia. He was a violent species, fully capable of addressing the many hardships that threatened his survival except for one: future man, a smarter version of himself, one destined to obliterate all those who came before.

From prehistoric fiction author Jacqui Murray comes the unforgettable saga of a courageous woman who questions assumptions, searches for truth, and does what she must despite daunting opposition. Read the final chapter of her search for freedom, safety, and a new home. A perfect book for fans of Jean Auel and the Gears!

I had the pleasure of asking Jacqui a few questions about her latest novel:

You made up the bird language—right?

Wrong. Imitating bird song to communicate over difficult-to-traverse expanses has been used throughout the world by different cultures. If you’re curious, try this link: https://www.npr.org/sections/parallels/2015/09/26/443434027/in-a-turkish-village-a-conversation-with-whistles-not-words

 Could early man really run down their prey?

That answer is a resounding Yes. Scientists call this the “Endurance Running Hypothesis”. Early Man didn’t run faster than herd animals. They ran harder—all day or more. The Homo genus evolved a more stable head, looser hips, longer legs, shock-absorbing joints, and a springier foot formation. This made them—and us—well-suited to continuous running. Other changes in body makeup meant humans didn’t tire or overheat from this activity. Most animals sprint only short distances before they must stop to catch their breath and let their bodies cool down. We didn’t.

Could primitive man build rafts as suggested in this story?

Yes, absolutely. They possessed the brainpower, and the required tools were available at the time. Because these rafts must have been made of wood and vines—-materials that don’t preserve over time—no artifacts remain to prove this. Anthropologists speculate this earliest raft was more of a floating platform made from bamboo and tied together with vine. Scientists tested this hypothesis by building rafts using the prehistoric techniques Xhosa employed to cross the Straits of Gibraltar and then sailing the raft through Indonesia as the ancient people might have done.

Thank you, Jacqui. I wish you much success with this book and with all of your writing endeavors.

Available digitally (print soon) at:
Kindle US   Kindle UK   Kindle CA   Kindle AU

Visit Jacqui’s Amazon Author page here.

RDP: Fringe

The wild grasses on Perry’s Point are freakishly tall this summer. Most of it is topped with a feathery fringe that dances in the sun and sways in the breeze. I can stare at it for hours!

Fitting too, seeing as I live on the fringe of an island on the fringe of North America. 😉

Ragtag Daily Prompt for Monday: Fringe

A Shout-out to my Commenters

Many thanks to everyone who visits my blog.

I’m throwing out a bouquet today to all who consistently like and comment on my articles, updates and photos throughout the year, but particularly I wish to thank the six most frequent commenters of late.

I hope you know how much I value your visits and our conversations. These visits bring the reward of connection with other like-minded people from all over, as well as with those who walk an entirely different path.

Have a look. You just might hit the follow button and join our blogging community.

Book Club Mom, a.k.a. Barbara Vitelli, hails from the U.S. and is my most frequent commenter. She is a book reviewer and blogger here on WordPress, where she shares author interviews, indie author profiles and blogging advice. Barbara is also a librarian, a book-clubber, and an avid reviewer on Net Galley and GoodReads.


Jacqui Murray of WordDreams is an author, freelance journalist, teacher, Amazon Vine Voice, and the bearer of a wealth of helpful advice for all things wordy. I have learned a lot from her posts which she fills with hints, lists,  how-tos, and book reviews. Jacqui lives in California.


Jill Weatherholt is a writer of contemporary stories about love, faith, friendship and forgiveness. Her sweet novels always end with a “happily ever after.” She started her blog as a way to share her journey and to create a community for other new writers, artists and fellow bloggers. Jill lives in North Carolina.


Clanmother, a.k.a. Rebecca Budd, is a fellow Canadian living in British Columbia. She hosts several blogs, sharing her talents as a visual storyteller, photographer, podcaster, traveler and life-long learner.


Andrea Stephenson of Harvesting Hecate is a gifted writer as well as a painter. She hails from the United Kingdom, where she draws inspiration from nature, the coastline and the turn of the seasons. She has written two magical realism novels for adults.


Joanne Meadows of joannerambling  is a blogger from Australia. She loves to blog about family, write letters to pen pals, and she’s always eager to share my posts on Twitter.


Honorable mention goes out to each and every commenter and visitor.

You all rock! 

Sunday Snap: E-Book or Printed Book?

Do you prefer an e-reader or a physical book?
Clearly, Vivian prefers the real deal to my Kindle.

Besides its compact size, I love my Kindle for several obvious reasons: it has a built-in dictionary, translator, highlighter, and a light when I need it. I can refer to Wikipedia, browse the web, and shop for books on Amazon. I can transfer my own files to my Kindle and read them. I can enlarge the text if I want. And, of course, e-books are easily accessible and usually cheaper.  With libraries closed and less access to physical books during the pandemic, my e-reader has been a godsend, to say the least.

In spite of the benefits of an e-reader, I do love the feel of a real book in my hands. When all is said and done, it is my preference. Some studies point to the fact that we better retain what we read from a printed book. And then there’s the colourful cover art!

How about you? Do you like one more than the other? I can hear some of you now: “Jennifer, the main thing is to read, no matter how you do it.”

Exactly.

“The story is truly finished—and meaning is made—not when the author adds the last period, but when the reader enters.” ~ Celeste Ng

Evergreen Post: Summer Lovin’

I’ve been taking a blogging break while away from home these past couple of weeks, so today I’ll share a photography post from a beautiful July day six years ago.
Remember 2014, when life was simpler?  ~*sigh*~

I plan to return to regular blogging with a new Sunday Snap, on—you guessed it—Sunday!

***

Summer in my province of Newfoundland and Labrador, compared to most of North America, is short but ever so sweet. What makes it so cherished, to my mind?

The following photos were all taken in Lead Cove, the little community where I raised my children.

I love my home for its natural beauty,
its refreshing, rugged and
unspoiled charm,
for its clear and wide blue skies
without a whisper of smog.

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I love the clean, sparkling water
and the glistening rocks adorning the coastline
that beg to be traced
and trod upon by eager footsteps.

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I love summer in Newfoundland
for its breathtaking views
of seascapes and landscapes
when I embark on a hike.

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Whether I traverse
its beaches of sand or
climb its rocky windswept hills,
I know my camera will find its aim.

I embrace it because
the bushes and shrubs,
green and lush,
are heavy with fragrance
and of wild roses in bloom…

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…while in the gardens,
the planted perennials are brilliant with colour,
delighted at last
to spread their bright petals to the sun.

181

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I love the hardy trees of Newfoundland
in summer…

178

…as they stretch
their ripe foliage to the sky.

184Shot through with rays of sunlight,
a shimmering haze settles over the treetops
like a warm summer veil.

323

After a long winter and dismal spring
of cold, naked branches,
they, as I do,
breathe a sigh of gratitude
at the return of this warm and golden season.

234

Are you filled with summer lovin’ where you live, or is the pandemic interfering?

Originally published here on July 29/14

Sunday Snap: Puzzling

Wolves in Spring

I finished my pandemic puzzle this morning. Now I’m sad because I don’t have another one to start. Although puzzles may be considered a huge time-suck, I love them as a way to unwind. Jigsaw and crossword are my favourites, but like good books, I hate when I reach the end.

Speaking of puzzles, I learned two new words today:

  • Enigmatology: the science of puzzles
  • Cruciverbalist: a person skillful in creating or solving crossword puzzles

“It is one of man’s curious idiosyncrasies to create difficulties for the pleasure of resolving them.” – Joseph de Maistre

Summer Evening

Close of hot June day—
soft sea breeze, high crescent moon,
cool waves kiss the shore.

We’ve enjoyed a bit of a heat wave this past week, an unusually early occurrence here in the easternmost province of Canada.

I call it a bonus because our summers are notoriously short, and after a long winter and spring, warm sun-filled days are more than welcome. I’m also grateful for the coastal breezes that keep things temperate.

This is my contribution to A Photo a Week Challenge: Dusk – nancy merrill photography

My Girl*

momsday5
my girl and me
mother’s day weekend 2013

Today, June 14th,

is my girl’s birthday.

Since the first moment I held her

and gazed into her eyes

when I was just eighteen,

she’s been as constant in my life as the stars.

I wonder if she realizes

how much she has enriched my life,

how proud I am of her and

how happy I am to be her mom, because

she is more than a daughter to me.

She is my friend.

  Happy Birthday,

 **  Denise  **

“A daughter is one of the most beautiful gifts this world has to give.” ~ Laurel Atherton

 

*This is one of my evergreen posts, first published here in 2013.

Baby Love

In the midst of the pandemic as well as my deep despair over everything that is going on in the world right now, comes a welcome respite of joy and gratitude.

My only sister and her husband became grandparents last night, to a perfect little girl who was longed for and whose mom went nine days overdue before finally going into labour late yesterday morning. I am brimming with happiness for them all.

Due to Covid-19 restrictions, my nephew was only permitted to stay in the hospital during labour and delivery, so like my sister and her husband and her other grandparents, he now has to wait until mother and baby are discharged to be with them.

A side note: when this same nephew was a baby and my firstborn was a young girl, she absolutely adored him. How do I know? Back then, she had a locket. She kept a pic of him in that locket along with a pic of herself. I smile whenever I think of it.

I can’t help but recall how thrilled I was when I became a grandmother fourteen years ago, to a dear little bundle who felt like a gift from heaven for all of us. And now my memories take me back to the day my own daughter was born.
I became a mom when I was barely a woman myself. So young I was, a child having a child. It didn’t take long, though, for me to make my baby a priority and to fall in love in a way I never had before.

Eight years ago, I wrote a short poem about it.

Baby Love

Remembering that day in June
when you were small and pink and new
your needs so urgent, your helplessness
eclipsing all I’d planned to do

Your eyes, the bluest I’ve ever seen
gazed into mine, I drank you in
strawberry mark on your behind
that perfect dimple in your chin

The tiny o your lips would make
when, nursing done, you fell asleep
that newborn smell, the lightest heft—
who knew that love could feel so deep?

My firstborn with her firstborn 

What are you grateful for today?

Vivian on Video: a Fetching Feline

Enjoying a lazy Sunday

Happy Sunday, all!

Vivian K. Perry here with a video of me playing fetch, made by my staff. We started playing this game one night when I was feeling down about the recent loss of my sister Maisie.

Please don’t be alarmed by my cries — that’s what I always do when I play with my favourite ball. The game ends when I keep the ball. Fun fact: this is the same sound I make whenever I bring home a vole or shrew. Enjoy!