Book Launch: Survival of the Fittest by Jacqui Murray

Five tribes. One leader. A treacherous journey across three continents in search of a new home.

Hey, everyone! I’m excited to host author Jacqui Murray today, as she launches her newest novel in the prehistoric fiction genre, Survival of the Fittest. 

Jacqui is a prolific writer, a tech teacher, and a whirlwind of energy in the blogging world and on social media. On top of all that, she is a voracious reader. If you’re a writer too, I suggest you follow her blog WordDreams for a wealth of info and tips to help you on your writing journey.

Here’s what her latest book is all about:

Chased by a ruthless and powerful enemy, Xhosa flees with her People, leaving behind a certain life in her African homeland to search for an unknown future. She leads her People on a grueling journey through unknown and dangerous lands but an escape path laid out years before by her father as a final desperate means to survival. She is joined by other homeless tribes–from Indonesia, China, South Africa, East Africa, and the Levant—all similarly forced by timeless events to find new lives. As they struggle to overcome treachery, lies, danger, tragedy, hidden secrets, and Nature herself, Xhosa must face the reality that this enemy doesn’t want her People’s land. He wants to destroy her.

Title: Survival of the Fittest
Series: Book 1 in the Crossroads series, part of the Man vs. Nature saga
Cover by: Damonza 
Available at: Kindle US Kindle UK Kindle CA Kindle AU

Q. Is there a goal to writing this story, Jacqui?

A. All the books in this series, Man vs. Nature, will be written with a goal of explaining how man’s essentials–art, music, culture, body adornments, religion, counting, spoken language, critical thinking, and abstract thinking—bloomed from our earliest roots.

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 TeachHUB and NEA Today, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. Look for her next prehistoric fiction, Quest for Home, Summer 2019. You can find her tech ed books at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning.

Social Media contacts:

http://twitter.com/worddreams
http://pinterest.com/askatechteacher
http://linkedin.com/in/jacquimurray
https://worddreams.wordpress.com
https://jacquimurray.net

Congrats on your latest release, Jacqui! 

Friday Fiction: The Location App

During a Saturday morning long-distance chat, they had an argument, heated and out of the blue.

Before Joanne could apologize and take back the words she’d barked into the receiver, her daughter had ended the call.

No goodbye. Just a click, then cold silence.

Emily was Joanne’s only child. She’d secured a position the year before at the Children’s Hospital in the capital city. Living nearly three hundred miles apart was taking its toll. They never used to fight, until their lives became more separate – more disconnected.

On days or nights when Joanne felt particularly alone, she’d pick up her phone and jab at the Find Friends app to see what Emily was up to. Most times she was at work, other times at the mall or the gym or at an address Joanne didn’t recognize. Probably visiting friends or out for the evening at a downtown restaurant.

On her loneliest days, it became an obsession; she’d tap on the app every hour. She knew Emily was a busy professional and couldn’t always answer her texts or calls, but tracking her whereabouts gave Joanne a ray of comfort and inclusion, even in this small way.

Emily’s was the only app location to whom she had access. The only one she needed. Two years ago when Emily came home on winter break from nursing school, Joanne had been worried about the icy roads on her daughter’s long drive back to the city.

Snatching up her mother’s phone, Emily had made a few taps, and voila: she’d added and activated the app so her mother could track her progress all the way home to her apartment building.

Joanne sighed and called Emily back. It went to voice mail. She sent a text. Not read, no response. She waited an hour and tried again – same result. Over a stupid disagreement!

When she picked up her phone another hour later and jabbed at the location app, she couldn’t believe her eyes. Her heart twisted in her chest.

Emily had turned her location off.

Joanne finally gave up trying to reach her at 7 pm. All she’d wanted to do was apologize for what she’d said and for being so needy.

While she stared into the fridge at the overdue leftovers, a twin beam of headlights illuminated the window and flickered across the kitchen wallpaper. Joanne waited until she heard the slam of a car door and the click of a key in the lock. She ran to the front door. It swept open and Emily, eyes red-rimmed, fell into her arms.

“I’m sorry, Mom.”

“I’m sorry too, honey. You came all this way! But why didn’t you call or text, or answer any of mine? And why did you turn off your location?”

“I took a week’s family leave to spend with you, and I wanted it to be a surprise. I’ve missed you so much, Mom.” She brushed her lips across Joanne’s cheek. “Now, what’s for supper?”

***

Thanks for reading!

Jennifer’s Friday Fiction

Friday Fiction appears on the occasional Friday as a place to share my writing in the form of short stories, flash fiction, poetry and vignettes.

Friday Fiction: The Test

I wish I could say I wrote this lovely piece, but I found it shared on Karen Lang’s blog, Healing Your Life.

Stepping into the unknown, takes courage and strength to move out of our comfort zone. But sometimes we can be left believing it was not worth it;  Be patient. In time, you will discover, you receive exactly what you need.

The Test

John Blanchard stood up from the bench, straightened his Army uniform, and studied the crowd of people making their way through Grand Central Station. He looked for the girl whose heart he knew, but whose face he didn’t, the girl with the rose. His interest in her had begun thirteen months before in a Florida library. Taking a book off the shelf he found himself intrigued, not with the words of the book, but with the notes penciled in the margin. The soft handwriting reflected a thoughtful soul and insightful mind.

In the front of the book, he discovered the previous owner’s name, Miss Holly Maynell. With time and effort he located her address. She lived in New York City. He wrote her a letter introducing himself and inviting her to correspond.

The two grew to know each other through the mail. Each letter was a seed falling on a fertile heart. A romance was budding. Blanchard requested a photograph, but she refused. She felt that if he really cared, it wouldn’t matter what she looked like. When the day finally came for him to return from Europe, they scheduled their first meeting – 7.00 p.m. at the Grand Central Station in New York.

“You’ll recognize me,” she wrote, “by the red rose I’ll be wearing on my lapel.” So at 7.00 p.m. he was in the station looking for a girl whose heart he loved, but whose face he’d never seen.

Mr Blanchard describes the scene: “A young woman was coming toward me, her figure long and slim in a green suit. Her blonde hair lay back in curls from her delicate ears; her eyes were blue as flowers. I started toward her, entirely forgetting to notice that she was not wearing a rose. As I moved, a small provocative smile curved her lips. “Going my way, sailor?” she murmured.

Almost uncontrollably, I made one step closer to her, and then I saw Holly Maynell. She was standing almost directly behind the girl. A woman well past 40, she had graying hair tucked under a worn hat. The girl in the green suit was walking quickly away. I felt as though I was split in two, so keen was my desire to follow her, and yet so deep was my longing for the woman whose spirit had truly inspired me.

And there she stood. Her gray eyes had a warm and kindly twinkle. I did not hesitate. My fingers gripped the small worn blue leather copy of the book that was to identify me to her.

This would not be love, but it would be something precious, something perhaps even better than love, a friendship for which I had been and must ever by grateful. I squared my shoulders and saluted and held out the book to the woman, even though while I spoke I felt choked by the bitterness of my disappointment. “I’m Lieutenant John Blanchard, and you must be Miss Maynell. I am so glad you could meet me; may I take you to dinner?” The woman’s face broadened into a tolerant smile. “I don’t know what this is about, son,” she answered, “but the young lady in the green suit who just went by, she begged me to wear this rose on my coat. And she said if you were to ask me out to dinner, I should tell you that she is waiting for you in the big restaurant across the street. She said it was some kind of test!”

~ Paulo Coelho

Jennifer’s Friday Fiction

Blog Hop: Born in a Treacherous Time by Jacqui Murray

FYI: Sunday Snap will be back as usual next week.

Today, I’m delighted to welcome author and tech teacher Jacqui Murray from over at WordDreams. She has a brand new release out now in an unusual and fascinating genre.

Book Info:

Title: Born in a Treacherous Time
Series: Book 1 in the Man vs. Nature series
Genre: Prehistoric fiction
Cover by: Damonza 
Available at: Kindle

Jennifer: Good morning, Jacqui. Born in a Treacherous Time sounds intriguing! Can you tell me a bit about it?

Jacqui: Thank you for having me, Jennifer. Here’s a short summary:

Lucy and her band of early humans struggle to survive in the harsh reality of a world where nature rules, survival is a daily challenge, and a violent band threatens to destroy everything Lucy thinks she understands.

If you like Man vs. Wild, you’ll love this book. If you ever wondered how earliest man survived but couldn’t get through the academic discussions, this book is for you. It will bring that world – East Africa 1.8 million years ago – to life in a way never seen before.

Jennifer: I can’t wait to read it. I’ve never read prehistoric fiction before, but it has been of interest to me ever since I saw the movie Quest For Fire. What prompted you to write the book, and your switch to this niche genre?

Jacqui: Born in a Treacherous Time is a spin-off of my previous book, To Hunt a Sub.
More specifically, it is a spin-off of Lucy, the ancient female who mentored Kali Delamagente, the female protagonist of that series.

Jennifer: Lucy was such an interesting part of that story. But why did you write a book in such a tiny niche?

Jacqui: Born in a Treacherous Time is written in the sub-genre of historic fiction called prehistoric fiction, a time before recorded history. There aren’t a lot of readers in this genre but they are devoted!
Because the only records are rocks, world building has proven difficult but Lucy (the heroine) really didn’t give me a choice. She nagged me to tell her story from my first page twenty years ago to my final draft. Now maybe Lucy will leave me alone!

Jennifer: You have a couple of noteworthy reviews you’d like to share with our readers, including a Kirkus review. Here they are:

Kirkus review: “Murray’s lean prose is steeped in the characters’ brutal worldview, which lends a delightful otherness to the narration …The book’s plot is similar in key ways to other works in the genre, particularly Jean M. Auel’s The Clan of the Cave Bear. However, Murray weaves a taut, compelling narrative, building her story on timeless human concerns of survival, acceptance, and fear of the unknown. Even if readers have a general sense of where the plot is going, they’ll still find the specific twists and revelations to be highly entertaining throughout.
A well-executed tale of early man.”  (Click here for the entire review)

 An early reader’s review: Born in a Treacherous Time sheds light on a period of time that gave birth to the human race, and allow us to bear witness to the harshness and tenacious spirit that is uniquely human—to survive and endure. Readers with a thirst for knowledge and who enjoy historical fiction, this is a must read. I am looking forward to reading book 2 when it is published. I devoured the book in 2 sittings.”Luciana Cavallaro, author of Servant of the Gods series and webmaster of Eternal Atlantis

Jennifer: Those are wonderful reviews. I love that this book has a strong and unique female lead. Thank you so much for this, Jacqui!

To learn more about my guest today, check out the following:

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 seriesShe is also the author of over a hundred books on integrating technology into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice,  a columnist for TeachHUB, monthly contributor to Today’s Author, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. You can find her books at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning.

Social media links:
http://twitter.com/worddreams
http://linkedin.com/in/jacquimurray
https://worddreams.wordpress.com
https://jacquimurray.net

Friday Fiction: Reunion*

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– Reunion –

He sees her
at the edge

of the crowded soiree
and knows her instantly.

It is a blow.

The first time
in thirteen years
Fate has brought them
together
years for her
he’d heard
were far from kind.

He thinks
how dramatic
change can be from
Life’s random cruelties
and how no one
can prepare.

A nervous voyeur
he peeks into her eyes
smudged windows
at the brink
of unimaginable pain.

It frightens him
makes him wish
he hadn’t heard the rumors
the images evoked
and now the proof.

Her face
the same yet injured
from the inside of her trauma
haunted eyes far too mature
for her years
aspect stamped with the hurt
she tries to hide.

And he wonders
when she finds his broken smile
how it was ever possible
that once
she swarmed his secret dreams.

She turns away.

It occurs to him
she read it in his heart
and knows
the Muse has passed.

***

*First published here.

Jennifer’s Friday Fiction

Thanks for reading!

Friday Fiction appears on random Fridays as a place to share my writing in the form of short stories, flash fiction, poetry and vignettes.

The Marathon of Novel-Writing

I’m guest-posting on A Writer’s Path today, sharing my experiences as a novelist.

Come on over for a visit and check it out!

The Marathon of Novel-Writing

Calmer Girls is Pre-Listed!

Quicker than I had anticipated, Calmer Girls has been prelisted and is now available to pre-order on Amazon

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After moving to the city of St. John’s, sixteen-year-old Samantha Cross meets a boy with beautiful brown eyes—eyes that focus on her sister, Veronica. As Samantha falls in love with her sister’s boyfriend, one
thing becomes clear: One of the Cross sisters is in for a broken heart.

Please note: At this time, the book is available for pre-order in e-book form only. When the book is officially released on March 24th, the paperback will then become available.

Some of you have expressed an interest in the origins of the cover art.
Award-winning Fiona Jayde Media did the beautiful artwork for Calmer Girls. I couldn’t be more pleased with my publisher for acquiring the artist, along with everything they’ve done and are still doing in working with me to bring my book to light.

And of course, many thanks again to all who gave me the moral support through this blog to continue on my writing journey. Before the book’s release, I’ll return to this topic to provide a bit more background to the setting of Calmer Girls.

Things are a little hectic here for me at the moment and I will be away from my blog for a few days, so I have closed comments for this post. And next time? There are a few new photos I’m looking forward to sharing with you. 🙂

Links where you can find the book:

Amazon Canada

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Amazon Australia

Calmer Girls

In Praise of Young Adult Fiction

I used to think I was a bit of a dork for liking Young Adult literature, even though my years as a young adult are long gone.

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Not so anymore. Although some may be too shy to admit to it or call it a guilty pleasure, YA fiction has a huge fan base among grownups; in fact, a recent study states that 55% of its readers are actually adults. And while I also choose from a variety of other genres and often crave the more literary and classic offerings as well, I particularly enjoy writing Young Adult fiction, as two of my upcoming novels will attest.

Why do I and so many others love reading YA novels? I don’t believe it implies immaturity, but rather suggests a more “young at heart” sensibility of the reader. And I am careful about not lumping all of them together; as in every genre there is great writing and not-so-great writing. With that in mind, here is what I find appealing about most of the YA and coming-of-age literature I have read:

  • It draws you in and hooks you on the first page.
  • It is usually light on the exposition and heavy on the action and dialogue.
  • The drama isn’t contrived. The teenage years, with all of its growing pains, can be filled with turmoil. Ordinary situations often feel emotional, and even catastrophic.
  • Teens are well-known to be impetuous and curious, therefore their actions are often unexpected. This opens up all sorts of drama which may include acting on violence, sexuality, and other previously uncharacteristic behaviours.
  • We’ve all been there, so we can identify with many of the common conflicts that arise. Other times, we might enjoy reading YA as an escape into wish-fulfillment: a way of righting the wrongs in our own experience.

Still not convinced to give Young Adult a try? Peruse these quotes taken from bestselling YA fiction:

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What do you think of the Young Adult genre?
Do you have any favourite YA quotes to share?

Friday Bouquet #7

 

I follow quite a few blogs by writers, and Moon In Gemini: Debbie’s Blog about Writing and Pop Culture is one of my favourites.

On her About Page:

I have very eclectic tastes in fiction, movies and TV.  I love genre fiction of all kinds, and am just as likely to have fantasy, horror, YA, historical fiction, sci-fi or romance residing on my Kindle.”

“… Gemini is a sign associated with writing and communication.  It’s also a sign associated with people who can’t make up their minds about anything, so don’t be surprised by the variety of subjects that may appear in this blog.”

I am highlighting the following post because I agree with her opinion on strong female characters. For that matter, we think all strong characters are intriguing because of their flaws as well as their strengths. Their faults are what make them human and real.

The Strong Female Character: I Do Not Think That Means What Some People Think It Means

If you love fiction of any kind, I think you’ll like Moon in Gemini as much as I do.

Comments are closed here. I invite you to comment on Debbie’s blog.

Have a great weekend, everyone. 🙂