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 – A Special Guest

Jennifer’s Friday Fiction

I’m pleased today to feature a special guest post on Friday Fiction.

My 12 year-old granddaughter Leah wrote the following flash fiction piece for school recently. When her mom showed it to me, I liked it so much, I asked Leah if she would allow me to publish it here on my blog.

Our family’s budding new writer readily agreed. Friends and followers, please take a moment to read it and tell me what you think!

roller coaster ride

Bart, the security guard, has always loved his job at the amusement park. He loves the greasy smell of deep-fried onions and the sweet smell of cotton candy drifting in the breeze as people happily skip by.

But there was just one thing that made Bart sad. He would always see people of all ages having so much fun with huge smiles on their faces as they jumped with excitement. Bart looked down at his chubby belly sticking out under his uniform with grease stains all over it from his recent lunch break. “I wish I could ride one of the roller coasters,” Bart thought to himself. All he wanted was to be able to ride a roller coaster and know what it was like to be happy and have fun.

Bart decided to make a plan. Maybe he could sneak onto a ride. No one would notice he was gone from his post because no one ever noticed he was there. Except for Trevor.

Trevor was Bart’s very strict boss. If Trevor ever found out about Bart’s plan, he would fire him for good and Bart definitely did not want that to happen. But he wanted to ride a roller coaster so bad, he was willing to take the chance.

Late one day, Bart was ready for action. It was 9:00 pm and the park closed at 10:00 pm. It was dark out so he wouldn’t be seen as easily. Bart slipped off his uniform so that he was left with a T-shirt and a pair of shorts on. He quickly put on his ball cap and ran off to the scariest ride in the park called “The Brain Wash”.

Bart got in line. While everyone was passing their tickets to the tall man standing at the entrance, Bart squeezed past the man without being seen. Bart had made it through!

He was finally on the ride. As the roller coaster was going up the steep hill with a ticking sound, he looked down at everyone below. They all looked like little ants. But there was one face that Bart could pick out. It was Trevor looking up at him with his arms folded across his chest. What if Bart got fired from his job?

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How to Use Nature to Connect with Your Grandkids

Today’s post is brought to you by my guest, author Susan Day.

Photo by Fay on Unsplash

Spending time with your grandchildren is one of the best things you can do for them, and for you too, for that matter.

Sure, kids love gifts and candy, and they get really excited about going to a theme park or spending time with their friends. However, there is a secret world which exists right outside the window and one which has a powerful allure. I’m referring to nature.

Nature offers an endless array of beauty and wonder, and for the most part it’s free and easy to access. Taking your grandchildren outdoors is a great way to build a strong connection with them. Just spending time and ‘being’ with children is important for their wellbeing.

Some children don’t get outdoors enough, and the simple act of wandering along the street, running at the park or tramping through the beach sand is an experience they are sadly missing out on.

Ignite a Sense of Curiosity

Research tells us that curious kids are intelligent kids. The more questions they ask, the more their minds grow and develop.

Nature has a bounty of things to be curious about. You could literally spend hours outside with your grandchildren exploring, and you don’t have to live near a forest or a beach to enjoy nature either. It’s in your yard, in your neighbor’s yard, at your local park, or any place a tree is growing and the birds are singing.

Do your grandkids know where bees go, and what they are doing buzzing around those flowers? Do they know why some birds migrate, and others live in the same area all their lives?

Point Out the Beauty in Small Objects

Each time your grandchildren come to visit, make a point of taking them outside and showing them something nature is doing. It might be new buds on the tree or the color autumn leaves are turning.

How many people rush through their busy days, not noticing subtle changes happening around them? Isn’t there something magnificent about the way birds take off or the way clouds move across the sky?

“Isn’t that interesting…” you might begin to say, and then point out an aspect of nature that is happening right under their very noses.

Look at a Leaf

What shape is it? Does it have any spots or spines? Compare it to another leaf from a plant that is growing close by. What things are similar? What are different? You could also begin a leaf scrap-book and share details of trees and shrubs that live in your area.

Analyse an Ant

Who doesn’t love bugs? Well, most adults don’t find them interesting, but kids love ’em! Bugs, beetles, aphids, and ants are like miniature dinosaurs or creatures from outer space living in our backyards. Without interfering with their busy lives, make a point of sharing these remarkable creatures with your grandchild.

Marvel at Moths

Moths, butterflies and dragonflies all go about their daily lives in nearly every place on earth, living in the most amazing ways.

Your grandchildren will love to learn about them. They will enjoy the wonder nature has to offer through your eyes, and come to a deeper understanding of how remarkable the world really is.

“I’d Rather Watch TV, Grandma!”

Nature has a way of going about its business whether we are watching or not, and all the while our televisions and devices are nagging us to watch and engage.

You may find your grandchildren are not used to examining nature in so much detail. They may not understand what you are getting at, but one thing is for sure: they won’t forget the time you have spent with them and how important nature was to you. It is a privilege to be able to see what nature is doing, and stand in awe of what it will do next.

What child doesn’t deserve to be introduced to all of this wondrous world?

No doubt your grandkids will grow and mature, and will find themselves stopping to admire a flower or cloud patterns. They will turn to a friend, their partner or even their own children, and share memories they have of you and how you introduced them to one of the most magnificent things on this planet – nature.

About Susan Day

Susan Day is a passionate author, educator and, of course, a grandmother. She wants to empower all grandparents to build meaningful relationships with their grandchildren. Discover here the Top 10 Things Happy Grandparents Never Regret Doing.

Susan lives in Australia with four dogs, three bossy cats, two rescue guinea pigs, and an errant kangaroo.

***

Interested in sharing one of your original articles as a guest? Feel free to submit your ideas to jennifer@jenniferkellandperry.com. Preference is given to topics relevant to my blog, such as books, writing, nature, photography, travel, children and pets. – Jennifer

Guest Post: Connie Lacy

“From a novelist’s perspective, the Sixties, itself, is like a character – so rich was that period as a decade of change.” ~ Connie Lacy

Today I have the pleasure of welcoming author Connie Lacy to my blog as a special guest. I hope, dear friends and followers, those of you who read or write fiction would kindly say hi or leave a comment for her below.

Connie writes speculative fiction, climate fiction and magical realism, all with a dollop of romance. Having worked for many years as a radio reporter and news anchor, her experience as a journalist shows up in some of her novels.

Connie’s post today is about 1960s music, stemming from her research for her latest novel due out this fall. I am a huge fan of the music from that era, so I jumped at the chance to share it with you. Take it away, Connie!

The 1960s – when social consciousness hit the airwaves

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When you think of music of the 1960s, what pops into your mind? The Twist by Chubby Checker? Ricky Nelson’s Hello, Mary Lou? Maybe it’s Come Together by the Beatles, or Bob Dylan’s Like a Rolling Stone. All of those songs were popular in the 1960s. But the first two were in the early sixties. Dylan’s Like a Rolling Stone hit the charts in 1965 and Come Together was released in 1969. Needless to say, the volatile decade of the 1960s saw a huge transformation in the music everyone heard on the radio. Looking back, the first few years of that decade seem like a continuation of the 1950s, while the middle and late sixties come across as a new era with a more complex sensibility.

I’ve been re-listening to some of those songs as I write my latest novel which comes out this fall. The story is set in 1966-67 as musical tastes underwent a tectonic shift. It’s surprising now to think that the actual top forty playlist as my novel opens in September of 1966 included such varied songs as: Sunshine Superman by Donovan, Summer in the City by The Lovin’ Spoonful, The Beatles’ Yellow Submarine, Land of 1000 Dances by Wilson Pickett and Stevie Wonder’s version of Bob Dylan’s Blowin’ in the Wind, all in the top ten. Then at #11 was Wouldn’t it Be Nice by The Beach Boys and #12 was Lil Red Riding Hood by Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs.

The Sixties, of course, was a time of great social upheaval, with opposition mounting to the Vietnam War, the Civil Rights Movement gaining momentum, growing demands by women for equal opportunities, and the gay rights movement picking up steam. The music we listened to incorporated or reflected growing social consciousness. Some popular songs were overt political statements. It’s amazing when you realize we went from Brian Hyland’s 1960 hit, Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini, to James Brown’s Say it Loud, I’m Black and I’m Proud in 1968… and from 1961’s My Boomerang Won’t Come Back by Charlie Drake to Barry McGuire’s 1965 anti-war anthem, Eve of Destruction.

This musical evolution took us from silly novelty songs like 1962’s Monster Mash to 1965’s My Generation by The Who – a teen rebellion anthem if there ever was one. But the airwaves were also filled with anti-war songs. Think Fortunate Son by Creedence Clearwater Revival, Peace Train by Cat Stevens, Universal Soldier by Donovan and the very powerful War by Edwin Starr – “War, huh, what is it good for? Absolutely nothing.” There were songs calling for equal treatment of black Americans such as A Change Is Gonna Come by Sam Cooke and Southern Man by Neil Young. There were also songs that became anthems for women, like Aretha Franklin’s Respect, Lesley Gore’s You Don’t Own Me, and on the Country and Western side, there was Dolly Parton’s 1968 hit, Just Because I’m a Woman.

From a novelist’s perspective, the Sixties, itself, is like a character – so rich was that period as a decade of change. Our country was undergoing a dramatic transformation and our music was changing as well. What a gift for me as a writer. And I make use of popular songs the characters listen to in my novel to help create that Sixties vibe.

If you’d like to be notified when my new book comes out, you can sign up for occasional, brief author updates here. And you can find my other novels on my Amazon author page or my website www.connielacy.com.

This article was originally posted on the author’s website here.

Thanks so much for visiting, Connie!

Readers and Writers, did you live through the Sixties?
Have you ever written a story set in that decade?
What are some of your favourite songs from the era?

Completing My First Draft: Three Things I’ve Learned*

Besides being featured on Jill Weatherholt’s blog yesterday, I also guest posted on The Writer’s Path to share one of my articles on writing fiction.

It was interesting to look back on this post because I wrote it before either of my books were published. Still, I believe the concepts hold true and I wouldn’t change a thing.

Completing My First Draft: Three Things I’ve Learned

*Originally posted on Sept. 6, 2013 on jenniferkellandperry.com

Summer Spotlight & End of Sale

Happy Friday, everyone.

Come visit me over at Jill Weatherholt’s blog today. Jill is a friend and a fellow author/blogger who writes delightful stories about love, friendship and forgiveness, and she has graciously invited me to take part in her Summer Spotlight series.

As it happens, there are just a few days left to snap up Calmer Girls on Kindle for only 99¢, and you can get the link at Jill’s place. Please drop by with a comment when you get a chance, and I will chat with you later this afternoon when I get home. I look forward to seeing you there.

Have a great weekend!

Guest Post: EuroTrip Planner – When to Go and What to See

With my eye on a trip to England next year, I am sharing a guest post by lifestyle blogger, Marie Nieves, who gives some practical advice on planning a European adventure.

I am also welcoming other guest posts on the topic, primarily about travel to the United Kingdom and nearby countries. Please send your guest post ideas to: jennifer@jenniferkellandperry.com.

Take it away, Marie!

EuroTrip Planner: When to Go and What to See

 Europe, Source

Having a tour through Europe is always a great idea. However, if you would like to explore Europe, there are a number of things to consider beforehand. First of all, you should know that regardless of how long your trip lasts, it will not be enough to see everything you want. What you need is to make a plan of your trip in a way that you can make the most of the time you have. Doing this is often difficult as you need to be realistic, but at the same time trying to meet all the expectations regarding the trip. I’m here to help you do that!

When?

There are three main traveling seasons in Europe. They are called high, low and shoulder seasons. The first one is from June until August, the second one is November to April, and the Shoulder seasons are April to June, and September to November. Choose the season depending on your preferences since it will have a major effect on your trip. If you can stand the heat, the high season is great for you. However, if you prefer traveling when temperatures are lower, some other seasons may work better in your case.

Packing

Since you’ll be visiting many countries, and therefore changing locations frequently, I advise you not to bring a lot of luggage. This may or may not be possible depending on how long you’re staying, but try to bring only your essentials. You need money, passport, phone, camera and something to wear. Don’t stock up on anything since you’ll be able to buy things along the way.

Metro, Source

Accommodation

This can be tricky. Perhaps you can choose a country which will be your base and then have excursions from there. For example, you can choose England as a base. If you’d like to stay in a hotel, Tavistock House has great reviews. You can also choose the Oceanic Hotel in Falmouth or the Grasmere Hotel. On the other hand, if you prefer to save a few bucks, there are great offers for shared accommodation in England. One suggestion would be to book a hotel at your primary location in advance and find accommodation for your excursions on the go. Keep track of offers before and during your trip to get the best price for a stay in other countries, as well as to keep your routing options open.

Excursions

Depending on how you structure your trip, you will set the time for exploring England and other countries. It’s all about maximizing your performance during the time given. That is why enticing canal cruises in England are a convenient way to see several different cities such as London, Reading, Windsor and Oxford.  You will surely enjoy cruising along the River Thames and admiring the scenery you pass by. As far as other countries are concerned, the good thing is that it’s really easy to travel by plane from England to any European country. The connections are excellent, so you can go anywhere you want.

River Thames, Source

If this is your first trip to Europe, I recommend sticking with just a few countries. For instance, visit France, Italy and Germany from England. See the capitals and all the main places in these countries. Try the local cuisine, walk down the streets and breathe the air and atmosphere of each city you visit. Give yourself enough time to really experience every country. It’s better to stick with just a few of them rather than try to visit as many as possible and end up confused and exhausted. European trips should be done this way, in stages. Every time you visit, you’ll have a completely different experience!

About the author

Marie Nieves is a lifestyle blogger who loves unusual trips, gadgets and creative ideas. On her travels, she likes to read poetry and prose and to surf the Internet. Her favourite writer is Tracy Chevalier and she always carries one of her books in her bag. Most of her free time at home she spends walking her Labrador Retriever named Max. She is an avid lover of photography who loves to talk about her experiences. You can find Marie on Facebook or follow her on Twitter and Pinterest.

Vivian’s View From Here: My Trip to the Vet

Happy weekend, Peeps and Pets.

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Maisie & Me

Vivian K. Perry here, back for a new guest post on Jennifer’s Journal. Can you believe this is my eleventh time blogging here on WordPress? I’m becoming an old pro!

Let’s get down to business: I went to see my veterinarian in Gander yesterday. And because I did, my weekend is going to be one of recovery instead of more itching and scratching of my pretty face.

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sticker on our fridge

You see, I have this recurring condition, an allergy of sorts, or so I’m told. The problem is that no one can determine what triggers it! The first time this happened to me was when we were still living in the city, and I was barely out of kittenhood. I had a little spot on  my cheek that simply would not heal.

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This is me yesterday morning. I had no idea at this point where I would be going that afternoon. Notice my not-so-pretty face. 😦

As it happened, Jennifer and Paul went on a trip to Jamaica that spring, and when they came back, they were horrified to see that the little spot had festered and had gotten much worse. Off to the vet we went, and I came back with steroids, antibiotics and that ghastly ‘cone of shame’ around my neck. Let me tell you: I HATED that #@%*#!ing cone!

But I healed, and ever since, my staff made sure I never got to that point again.

A year or so ago, Jennifer read on the internet that the cat treats, Temptations, were causing itchy skin allergies in some other members of my species, so of course I never got to eat another one after that. For a long while, it seemed the mystery had been solved.

Then my condition returned, so we are back to square one as to the cause. If anyone out there has any experience with this or knows what I might be allergic to, would you help a kitty out and please leave a comment below?

Jennifer put together this little gallery from my visit. I hope you enjoy it more than I did.

“I hate this #%&*# cage and this #%&*#car!”
Jennifer stayed in the back seat with me, so I stopped crying. An hour and a half is a long drive for a kitty.
Jennifer stayed in the back seat with me, so I stopped crying. An hour and a half is a long drive for a kitty.
I was a really good girl!
I was a really good girl!
When we finally got to the vet's, we had to wait for a little while.
When we finally got to the vet’s, we had to wait for a while.

Too many doggies for my liking. I was outnumbered!

Paul faced me away from those doggies, but I could smell them. Ugh!
Paul faced me away from those doggies, but I knew they were there. Doggie smells don’t lie.
At last, it was my turn.
At last, it was my turn.
In spite of my allergy, the vet said I was very healthy for my age. :)
In spite of my allergy, the vet said I was very healthy for my age. I was also very well-behaved. 🙂
Prednisone and yummy treats. Yay!
Prednisone and yummy treats. Yay!

After my check-up, I went home with my new meds. I hardly made a peep the whole way, probably because I was worn out from all the excitement.

img_1860 I thought Maisie would’ve been lonely during our absence; she is rarely left by herself.
But she seemed un-purr-turbed.

Vivian’s View From Here: Centre of Attention

0121-e1363317083865 (556x450)Good afternoon, all of you precious peeps out there!

Whether you’re of the furry variety of friend or not, welcome back to Jennifer’s Journal. Maisie and I LOVE when you drop by for a visit, and even more so when we are allowed to be front and centre.

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Jennifer woke up with a pesky migraine this morning and couldn’t concentrate on writing, so I suggested she relax, look at some pretty pictures of us, and let me do the talking. So here I am.

viv&mais

As many of you already know, my sister and I have enjoyed being the centre of attention in Jennifer’s “animal-loving world” since 2007, when she and our “dad” rescued us as kittens from the pound. Are we spoiled? Nah. How can one be spoiled by too much love?004 (640x358)

And guess what? She hardly misses an opportunity to tell us how she adores being woken up each morning by our soft nudges and warm cuddles, and how much happiness we bring to her life in general.IMG_0189 (640x516)

When she leaves us to go in town for nine or ten days at the end of this week, I know for certain she will miss our fluffy, friendly, purring cuteness more than she’s willing to admit.003 (640x299)

We, on the other hand, will muddle through somehow until she gets back.
At least our “dad” will be here with us most of the time.

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Jennifer will have to make do with these other critters for animal companionship at her daughter’s house…

Can you imagine? Such a profound sacrifice!

Ginger & Nico
Ginger & Nico

Something tells me, however, that she kind of likes that other cat — and stranger still, that big, curly, doggie creature. Go figure. And I’ll bet you dollars to dentabone treats she’s going to smell like him too, when she comes home. (Ugh!)

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But that’s par for the course when you own a human who loves all animals, not just her own. She knows we understand. And she knows we will be waiting here with eager purrs and sandpaper smooches when she returns.

Signing off now, so until next time, thanks for reading, everyone!
~ head bumps & nose kisses,
Vivian

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“You know, sometimes the world seems like a pretty mean place. That’s why animals are so soft and huggy.” – Bill Watterson

This has been our contribution to Ailsa’s photo theme: Centre
at wheresmybackpack.com
and
this week’s entry in:weeklypets

Do you ever have to go away and leave your fur babies behind?
Do you miss them when you do?