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.

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

Sunday Snaps: Books and Cats

“Books. Cats. Life is good.” ~ T.S. Eliot

Although only one presumptive case of the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has been announced here in Newfoundland and Labrador at the time of this posting, much of the province has already shut down out of caution.

Thankfully, I still have two of my favourite things to occupy me while I worry: books and cats!

Interestingly, Vivian seems to love books too.

On the other hand, I have no pics of Maisie hanging out with books. Perhaps she’s illiterate? Anyway, it’s all good. She often cuddles up close when I’m reading.

I’m sure T.S. Eliot would have heartily approved.

Stay safe, everyone!

Blogger Bouquet #57

Happy Valentine’s Day, readers and bloggers!

It’s been quite a while since I tossed a blogger bouquet, but hey, today is the perfect time to share a little love.

In her own words, Evelyn Krieger – Inspiration for the Creative Soul – is a “word weaver, radical educator, dancer, and homeschooling pro.”

Her debut middle-grade novel, One is Not a Lonely Number, was a 2011 Sydney Taylor Honor Book from the Association of Jewish Libraries, a 2011 Next Generation Indie Finalist, and a PJ Library Our Way pick.

From her Welcome page:

“I grew up in Michigan. Today my home is Massachusetts, though I hope to move somewhere tropical one day. Sunlight makes me joyful. I’m allergic to snow.
My blog explores creativity, grief, resilience, and all things related to the writing life. I love connecting with my readers and making new friends. Please stop by and say hello.”

Check out Evelyn’s enjoyable post below, where she poses the popular writerly question: Does the change of season affect your creativity?


SEPTEMBER
SONG – CREATIVITY THROUGH THE SEASONS


Comments are closed here but you can leave a comment on the blogger’s page.

Have an inspired weekend, everyone!

Calmer Girls FREE on Kindle

Calmer Girls is free on Kindle until January 22.

Grab this edgy coming-of-age novel here: http://getbook.at/CalmerGirls

#CalmerGirls  #NewfoundlandBooks  #CanadianAuthor  #EdgyYAFiction  #ComingofAge

The Pulitzer Prize for Fiction – how many have you read?

Barbara Vitelli, a.k.a. Book Club Mom, compiled this list of Pulitzer Prize winners for Fiction two years ago and updated it this year. By 2017, I had read only 10 of them, but since then I’ve added 5 and hope to read more. How many of these novels have you read?

Book Club Mom

Someday I’d like to say I have read all the Pulitzer Prize winners for fiction. I took a look at the all-time list, and discovered I have a long way to go!

2019: The Overstory by Richard Powers

2018: Less by Andrew Sean Greer(read and reviewed)

2017:  The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

2016:  The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen

2015:  All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr (read and reviewed)

2014:  The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

2013:  The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson

2012:  No award

2011:  A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan

2010:  Tinkers by Paul Harding

2009:  Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout (read and reviewed)

2008:  The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz

2007:  The Road by Cormac McCarthy (read and reviewed)

2006:  March by Geraldine Brooks

2005:  Gilead by Marilynne Robinson

2004:  The Known World

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Sunday Snaps: Tuckered Out (but in a good way)

Hey friends! It’s been longer than usual since I’ve blogged or shared a snap, but I think I had a good excuse. I’ve been going over the final draft of my latest novel manuscript with a fine-toothed comb in recent weeks—a little snip and tighten here, an extra fleshing out there—and I’m happy to say it is finally in the hands of its first beta reader.

Due to a few changes made, it took longer to get to this point than planned when I blogged about the final draft in June, but between the jigs and the reels and the hope that feedback is mostly positive, here we are.

Much has fallen by the wayside getting to this stage, so I’ll take the coming week to finish reading Jacqui Murray’s latest novel, and begin another one for my online book club. Along with that I’ll catch up on neglected chores and, of course, all my favorite blogs. (Sorry for not commenting much lately, bloggers!)

I had hoped to take part in NaNoWriMo this month, but instead my plan is to write a blurb, query letter and synopsis for submissions to publishers. I also hope to complete the outline for Book 2 of my speculative fiction trilogy by month’s end. That way, writing the first draft can begin on December 1.

I’m tuckered out, but also STOKED. I feel good about the book and am more focused than ever on my writing.

But first, I will follow Vivian’s lead: flake out, hang out, and recharge. See you next week.

Book Launch: The Quest For Home by Jacqui Murray

I am delighted once again to help fellow author Jacqui Murray  with the launch of her latest novel. The Quest for Home is the second in her Crossroads trilogy.

I thoroughly enjoyed the first in the prehistoric fiction trilogy, Survival of the Fittest, and I highly recommend it. Jacqui is a masterful writer and researcher, and I can’t wait to read this next book in the series.

Summary:

Chased by a ruthless and powerful enemy, Xhosa flees with her People, leaving behind her African homeland, leading her People on a grueling journey through unknown and perilous lands. As they struggle to overcome treachery, lies, danger, tragedy, hidden secrets, and Nature herself, Xhosa must face the reality that her most dangerous enemy isn’t the one she expected. It may be one she trusts with her life.

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

Based on a true story, this is the unforgettable saga of hardship and determination, conflict and passion as early man makes his way across Eurasia, fleeing those who would kill him. He must be bigger-than-life, prepared time and again to do the impossible because nothing less than the future of mankind is at stake.

The Quest for Home info:

Series: Book 2 in the Crossroads series, part of the Man vs. Nature saga
Genre: Prehistoric fiction
Available at: Kindle US   Kindle UK   Kindle CA   Kindle AU

I asked Jacqui a couple of questions about her book:

1. If I am not reading these books in order, does it matter?

Survival of the Fittest starts the Crossroads trilogy, The Quest for Home is Book 2. Crossroads itself the second trilogy in the Man vs. Nature saga. Each trilogy is a stand-alone story; each book in the trilogy fairly standalone in that I include details to catch you up on what occurred in prior books but without most of the drama. They can be read out of order, but you may find the experience enhanced if the three books in each trilogy are read consecutively.

2. Could Xhosa, the main character of The Quest for Home, really have traveled with a wolf companion?

Dogs weren’t domesticated until about 10-15,000 years ago, long after Xhosa lived 850,000 years ago. But her understanding of man and animal were not what ours is. To Xhosa, the line between man and animal was blurry. She didn’t think of animals as lesser creatures. Why would she? As far as she knew, like her, they could plan, think, problem-solve, and display emotions just as she did.
So, for Xhosa to partner with a wolf made perfect sense.

It does make perfect sense, especially for an animal lover like me.
Thanks so much, Jacqui, for letting me assist with your book launch!

Author Bio:
Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers, and the Man vs. Nature saga. She is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, blog webmaster, an Amazon Vine Voice,  a columnist for  NEA Today, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. Look for her next prehistoric fiction, In the Footsteps of Giants, Winter 2020, the final chapter in the Crossroads Trilogy.

Find out more and follow Jacqui Murray on Social Media:

Amazon Author Page
Blog
Twitter
Website

Fridays and Final Drafts

Crunch time is here for my latest novel.

I’m nearing the end of the final draft, which means my beta readers will soon whisk away my manuscript for their constructive perusal. The timing couldn’t be better.

With the weather finally improving, I look forward to a couple of months to recharge and get ready for the next steps.

Friday turned out to be a super nice day. So mid-afternoon, I tore myself away from the laptop to step outside into sunshine, breathe the soft ocean breeze, and enjoy the view.

I think Maisie had the same idea.

“Does this camera angle make me look fat?”
Finally looking like summer around here!
“Stay out longer with me next time, please?”

It wasn’t easy to go back inside, but when you can see the finish line, it gives you more incentive to keep working. And once that line is crossed? Rest assured, Maisie–I will stay out with you much longer then.

“Best advice on writing I’ve ever received. Finish.”
~ Peter Mayle

Blogger Bouquet #56

Carol Balawyder is an author, blogger and dog owner that I’ve only recently started following.

From her Welcome page:

“Welcome to my website and blog. I write about justice, mid-life dating, grief, blogs that inspire me both as a writer and a person, awesome writing workshops and my dog, Bau.

I have series on: How I Got Published, The Femme Fatale, Nobel Prize Laureates, Writers’ Desks, Ten Great First Dates.

One of my goals is to make online friends with bloggers around the world of different and alike views.”

Carol’s dog Bau has now been made the mascot for the Reading Program at Carol’s library. Check out this cute dog with a job in the post below:

Bau: Benefits of Reading To a Dog

Comments are closed here but you can leave a little love on the blogger’s page.

Have a beautiful weekend, everyone!