Monday, 18 March 2019

Jacqui Murray’s new pre-history fiction release: Survival of the Fittest …




Here’s an author who is prepared to research and explore life as it is … as well as what life could well have been nearly a million years ago – as ‘we’ were starting our journey towards the 21st century …




Jacqui has written lots of other books on technical education, thrillers, her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy  (Building a Midshipman)… and now we have the first of her Crossroads trilogy: Survival of the Fittest.


What I like about this … is that Jacqui has let her imagination wander into the prehistory possibilities of life on earth and how we are now where we are … this path has obviously opened her eyes to so much … communication, spiritual aspects, male and female accomplishments, art, music, the land with its seasons – what a wealth of information to draw on.



Did Xhosa have any type of culture – art, music, that sort?  Is the question I asked Jacqui.

Her answer:  This time in man’s prehistory predated art, music, and most culture. There is very little if anything known about earliest man’s (850,000 years ago) interest in art and music.

In Xhosa’s case, I extrapolated from what we do know about these early iterations of man. They appreciated colors but didn’t think of applying it to themselves. Their brains could imagine things unseen but that didn’t extend to painting themselves, wearing jewelry, or tattoos.

Since clothing was only for warmth (or in Seeker’s case, to protect his sensitive parts), no thought was given to designing or decorating these.

Music—They did appreciate bird songs but considered it an animal voice, not something that they could replicate for their own pleasure. They could replicate it but it was to imitate the bird, not express creativity. They also appreciated rhythm but that was to set a running pace or sooth people.



Further details about Jacqui Murray's book launch:

Short Blurb:

Five tribes. One leader. A treacherous journey across three continents in search of a new home.
Short Summary:
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.
Book information:

Title and author: Survival of the Fittest
Series: Book 1 in the Crossroads series, part of the Man vs. Nature saga
Genre: Prehistoric fiction
Cover by: Damonza 

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:




I congratulate Jacqui on her obvious desire to broaden the scope of her writing … this first book in the Crossroads series, part of the Man vs Nature saga – sounds intriguing and should set our senses searching for new prompts for our own writings – enjoy …

Please check her out and keep an eye open for further publications by this stimulating author … who is Jacqui Murray.

If you would like to read the first chapter ... it can be found at Balroop Singh's post on her 'Emotional Shadows' blog ... where she has also been promoting Jacqui's book.

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

92 comments:

David Gascoigne said...

An author who is new to me, but the book sounds quite fascinating. The question of whether primitve people had what we would define as culture has been debated for years, and in Australia contemporary reflections on the attutudes of white settlers towards the Aboriginal peoples has redefined a whole relationship towards them.

Liz A. said...

It's weird to think how different their brains must have been and what things would and would not occur to them. It's a totally different way of thinking.

Hels said...

Writing history takes a lot of time and energy, trying to locate and analyse all the available primary sources. But it is not difficult at all.

But writing fiction strikes me as being very difficult work. I curtsy to those who can do it well.

Sue Bursztynski said...

I’ve read about this on another blog. It was compared to Clan Of The Cave Bear, which was about a clan of Neanderthals, except the heroine was a Cro-Magnon girl adopted by them. The author suggested that the Neanderthal brain was quite big, but more like a computer than ours, so that the people have race memories rather than learning new stuff...

I’ll be interested to see how this one goes.

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari OM
Hmmm, yes, my thoughts immediately jumped to the Clan of the Cave Bear series - which was excellent. Not sure I would jump at this one though. Perhaps when have caught up on the pending batch already piling up!!! YAM xx

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ David - Jacqui's concept does sound so interesting ... the thought of thinking that far back is so difficult to determine. I agree with you - we are presumptive in our take on other cultures' lives - indigenous life is so different to our short western one.

@ Liz - yes the undeveloped brain as that organ descended through its various iterations into the brain that we use today is so difficult for us to think about ... those early thought processes would mainly be of survival.

@ Hels - you are so right ... I'd be happy doing something I could pin facts to ... but actually drafting ideas into a novel deserves admiration.

@ Sue - yes Jacqui has been having a blog hop and her book has been compared to Jean Auel's book. I couldn't get into the Clan of the Cave Bear ... but I know many rate it - so didn't read the bit about the brain having 'race memories' - before our own brains had 'descended' to its potency as an organ today. I'll be interested to read Jacqui's take on this as the series is published ...

@ Yam - I'm sure Clan of the Cave Bear will feature in people's thoughts ... a series I couldn't get into, but interesting to find you thought it excellent. I can understand the piles of books to read ...

Thanks for your thoughts - I sincerely wish Jacqui all the best with this series - a mammoth task to undertake, while it will be interesting to read how her ideas on life that far back develop as the tale unfolds.

Good luck Jacqui and thanks for your comments - cheers Hilary

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

A lot to consider. That time period would be so far removed from our own. It would look alien to us.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Congrats, Jacqui. I wonder at what point we did become musical?

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Fascinating. Hard to imagine a time when people didn't wear decorative clothing or jewelry.

sage said...

Murray's book sounds interesting. I just finished last night Craig Child's "Atlas of a Lost World: Travels in Ice Age America" in which the author travels to historic sites (mostly Mammoth hunting sites) and engages in dialogue with archaeologist as they try to recreate the world that existed 12000 plus years ago.

www.thepulpitandthepen.com

Jacqui Murray said...

Thanks so much for hosting me, Hilary. I love how you explained the book, tied it into my other writings and passion. I am feeling most welcome!

Jacqui Murray said...

@DavidGascoigne--when I researched "culture", some approached it denotatively and others connotatively. I like the latter--that culture explains how we act in groups, how we adjust our actions to expectations and group dynamics. That makes it timeless and avoids discussion of traits my people didn't have like art and music.

Jacqui Murray said...

@LizA.--Thanks for visiting! You hit it--their brains were quite different from our but that frontal part that deals with planning and creativity was already growing. Physically, though, they weren't that different in appearance than us (well, stronger, more muscular, to reflect the lives they led).

Jacqui Murray said...

@Hels Thanks for visiting! The book actually includes a bibliography (or citation of sources) because I had to dig around so much. I read pretty much every great paleoanthropology mind I could find and started finding the similarities and common ideas. That's probably why it took 20 years to write this!

Jacqui Murray said...

@SueBursztynski This story is about 800,000 years before Ayla in Clan of the Cave Bear. My saga, Man vs. Nature, will eventually get to the fascinating Cro-Magnon folks and the powerful Neanderthals. I can't wait to research them!

Jacqui Murray said...

@YaminiMacLean Thanks for visiting, Yamini! Prehistoric fiction readers are a smallish group--much smaller than Westerns (my current favorite niche read). I was a big fan of Auel's Earth's Children series!

Jacqui Murray said...

@AlexJCavanaugh You are so right, yet these folks had pretty good brains. The way they knapped their stone tools makes most researchers believe they were pretty darn clever.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Alex - there's a huge amount to consider isn't there ... so I so admire Jacqui for tackling a series on pre-history ...

@ Diane - yes we can ponder can't we ... when we became musical, when art entered our lives, when we felt the need to have clothes etc ...

@ Elizabeth - I can hardly go back 200 or 300 years without getting mind bloggled about life back then, let alone pre ice ages ... so you're right to ponder the wearing of decorative clothing or jewellery and the whys and wherefores ...

@ Sage - I'm looking forward to tackling Jacqui's book. I hadn't heard about Craig Child's 'Atlas of the Lost World'- but it looks an interesting read. So thanks for the nod towards it ...

@ Jacqui - a pleasure to have you here ... and I see you're answering everyone's comments - thank you ... this comment will wing into the middle of your replies. - I'll be back anon.

Cheers to you all - lovely to see so many joining us in learning about Jacqui's book ... Hilary

Jacqui Murray said...

@LDianeWolfe--I add pounding on the ground as a precursor to music and one of my characters imitates birdsong though more for its calming effect than musicality. I can't find a definitive answer on when music arrived on the scene. Sigh. Thanks for visiting!

Jacqui Murray said...

@Elizabeth It is hard to imagine no decorations on us, not even tattoos yet. They just didn't think that way yet. Thanks for visiting!

Jacqui Murray said...

@sage That book sounds fascinating. I barely touch on an ice age that occurred 850,000 years ago. It is amazing how man survived such a cold life. Thanks for visiting!

Rhodesia said...

A new author for me as well I will be looking her up. Thanks Hilary. Have a good week Diane

Jacqui Murray said...

@Rhodesia--thanks for visiting. I so appreciate Hilary hosting me.

Kelly Hashway said...

This definitely sounds interesting!

Jacqui Murray said...

@Kelly--Thanks! I will say, it was fascinating to write!

Chatty Crone said...

I have not heard of this author. I tell you some people think of things so deep - I would never have thought of some of those questions.

Out on the prairie said...

this sounds amazing, I love the ideas she elaborated on

Jacqui Murray said...

Hi @Chatty Crone! I am annoyingly curious. I drive my kids nuts. It took forever to write this book because every answer begat new questions.

Jacqui Murray said...

Thanks @out on the prairie. I do touch on lots of subjects.

Joanne said...

Nice promotion post. I wish the author luck in sales. Certainly sounds like she jumped off into a lot of unknown territory and created quite a world. Very interesting.

retirementreflections said...

Thanks for this great review, Hilary. Jacqui is a very inspirational author. Her new book sounds very intriguing.

Debby Gies said...

Hi Hilary. So great to see Jacqui here too sharing her newest baby. What a tour! ;)

Jacqui Murray said...

@Joanne--thanks for visiting, Joanne. I did jump into the deep end, didn't I?

Jacqui Murray said...

@retirementreflections--Thanks for visiting. I couldn't have written this particular book without lots (and lots) of free time!

Jacqui Murray said...

@Debby Dies--Thanks for dropping in! Hilary has been a spectacular hostess!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Diane - thanks for coming by and checking in with Jacqui - her book sounds so intriguing ...

@ Kelly - I hope you'll take a look ...

@ Sandie - yes ... Jacqui has really gone the extra mile with this book - while the questions are fascinating, as too Jacqui's answers ...

@ Steve - I hope you'll get to read; while the concept of what 'we' were like all those years ago is mind boggling isn't it ...

@ Joanne - thanks I tried to make this post a little different. I know how you consider writing such a series covering nearly a million years is beyond me!

@ Donna - Jacqui seems to have written and co-authored a number of books, while to have the courage to branch this far out is quite amazing to think about ... inspirational - as you say ...

@ Debby - I know 'newest baby' seems to be triplets for her trilogy! I hope her tour has proved successful ... a brave series to write ...

Thanks everyone for coming by and taking note about the details of Jacqui's new book ... I do wish her well with the whole trilogy and series as it develops.

Thanks Jacqui for being by and replying to everyone's comments and questions ... it's made us all think about life pre-history - cheers to you all - Hilary

Patsy said...

Whenever archeology reveals new information I'm often surprised how sophisticated and advanced our ancestors really were, and how they seemed to share many of our good traits – but I'm thinking of just a few thousand years ago, not a million.

Deborah Barker said...

Thanks for introducing me to Jacqui Murray. I do enjoy reading and writing about ancient times (remember Abi Eshu who lives on my blog?) Researching is both time consuming and satisfying and I always admire those who can do it well. Weaving fiction around history brings it alive. I shall be looking out for this book Hilary :-)

Jacqui Murray said...

@Patsy They were that way a million years ago, too. Life was much more physical and the planning creative parts of their brains weren't as big but I don't think they needed them as much as we do today. Most animals at that time (Mammoth and Sabertooth), when they had free time, they slept. Man, we knapped stones and scouted. Of course, sleeping was dangerous for us!

Jacqui Murray said...

@Deborah I so love the research. Book 3 of the trilogy is based in Spain, an early Homo erectus settlement. I can't wait to dig into that! I'm going to your blog to check out Abi Eshu.

B Pradeep Nair said...

Hi Hilary, I like such stories about evolution. A lot of people don't realise that just as the present is different from the past, the future too will be different from the present. Thanks for introducing this author and book. I shall look forward to reading it.
-- bpradeepnair.blogspot.com

Jacqui Murray said...

@B Pradeep--thanks for visiting. I so enjoy figuring out how we got here.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Patsy - it is extraordinary with how much we are learning from our paleontologists ... they keep finding secrets, or uncovering old ways - I love it. The concept of how we developed into the way we are today is fascinating isn't it ...

@ Debbie - I see I commented on your Abi Eshu post - I now need to read it properly again. I really need to read Jacqui's book and see how she's approached the writing of her book. But weaving fiction around history certainly brings it to life ... that's great you'll be looking out for her book ...

@ Pradeep - I know they do fascinate and draw our thoughts in to those long ago days ... as you've recently written about - life is different over each era ... and I'm so pleased you're looking forward to reading Jacqui's book ...

Hi Jacqui - it's great the response you've been getting ... and I look forward to learning more about how you've worked the trilogy and the saga so we can travel your journey with you ...

Interesting comments and how you've got us all thinking about that period of time ...

Thanks everyone - it's been lovely having your support for Jacqui - cheers Hilary

Mark Koopmans said...

Wow. Now there's an intruiging book/idea and very cool to hear it's going to be a trilogy.

(I definitely want to read her daughter's story of getting to the USNA. That's an amazing achievement for any young person, so well done to her!)

Sandra said...

Many congrats to Jacqui. This sounds like an intriguing read.

Jacqui Murray said...

Getting in USNA is a lot about tenacity and never giving up--which actually is the theme in Survival of the Fittest. We all face problems. The winners are those who don't quit. Thanks for visiting, Mark!

Jacqui Murray said...

@Sandra--thank you, Sandra. I sure had fun writing it!

Vallypee said...

It sounds fascinating! Definitely one for my tbr pile! I'll be looking this one up very soon.

Jacqui Murray said...

@Vallypee--thanks so much! I appreciate your support.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Mark - oh great that you'll be reading about Jacqui's daughter and her achievement at becoming a Midshipman ... it must be such a good story, which you'll appreciate. While you've realised the depth of history this pre-fiction trilogy will draw on ... so pleased to see your interest.

@ Sandra - yes it definitely is congratulations ... and I'm sure will make an interesting read.

@ Val - excellent to read you'll be picking her book up - Survival of the Fittest ...

Thanks to you all - I know Jacqui will be delighted with your comments and visits here - and that one of her other books has been noted ... cheers Hilary

LD Masterson said...

I think it's fascinating to read about our distant ancestors and wonder how we got to where we are today. Best of luck, Jacqui.

Christine Rains said...

Congratulations to Jacqui! It is fascinating to think about what life might have been like so long ago. It is amazing to think what was once just tools for survival like clothing for warmth and imitating bird songs now are such a big part of who we are in art and music.

Lisa said...

Congratulations Jacqui! Sounds like in interesting story! Thanks Hilary for hosting Jacqui. I went and read the first chapter as you suggested!

Dianne K. Salerni said...

Wow, what a grand scale project this must have been, to start virtually from scratch building and fleshing out the world of mankind's pre-history!

Sandra said...

That's a great picture of Jacqui.
Hope your day is productive and pleasant, Hillary.

Jacqui Murray said...

@LDMasterson I agree. After 25 years of research, I'm pretty comfortable I have figured out our roots!

Jacqui Murray said...

@Christine Rains I love historical fiction but truthfully, it sounds so tame compared to my folks. Nature rules in my stories!

Jacqui Murray said...

@Lisa-thanks! I really enjoyed digging into all the paleo- subjects to figure out where we came from.

Jacqui Murray said...

@Dianne--I had originally planned one book but really, that didn't tell the story. And even a trilogy about a period in time missed so much. So here I am, striking out on a long (long) path. At least I'll always have something to write about!

Jacqui Murray said...

@Sandra--thanks! I was a bit younger but it's the best I could come up with!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ LD - Jacqui really has set her sights high (or looong ago) hasn't she ... it'll be fascinating to read her take on our pre-history ...

@ Christine - you're so right about the 'congratulations' ... and what we might have been doing back then, apart from surviving ... but as you mention art and music (and culture) are such a big part of our lives now ...

@ Lisa - so pleased you went over to read the first chapter - I was lazy I'm afraid to put it up here!!

@ Dianne - isn't it a grand-scale project - and how she's kept tabs on the whole trail would be interesting to read up sometime - if she'll tell us. Mammoth record keeping ...

@ Sandra - yes it's a lovely cheery face smiling out at us ...

Thanks Jacqui for answering everyone - looks like you've got us all drooling to know more and read up about 'our ancestors' - cheers to you all - Hilary

Balroop Singh said...

Survival of the Fittest is an excellent book, if you are looking for something different. Thanks for hosting Hilary. Love your support.

Marja said...

Very intriguing to imagine how people lived such a long time ago It sounds like a great book thanks for introducing me to it

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Balroop - thanks for coming over again and letting us know your brief thoughts on Jacqui's book - it certainly seems to be so different - and I definitely want to read it. Thanks for being over here and supporting us both here ...

@ Marja - it's difficult to think about: our prehistory life ... seems almost beyond the pale ... so it's great to know Jacqui has given us her thoughts in writing this first book of the trilogy ...

Cheers to you both - I will have to get my head round the timeline of 850,000 years ago ... before I read it ... Hilary

Elsie Amata said...

Kudos to Jacqui and also thank you for her time at the academy. Her book sounds like an interesting read for sure.

Elsie

Jacqui Murray said...

@Balroop--it is colored outside the lines. I filled my brain with Xhosa's era and started writing!

Jacqui Murray said...

@Marja--we were tougher then so things like hot and cold, wounds and fear didn't bother us like it does today. Pretty interesting.

Jacqui Murray said...

@Elsie Thanks so much for visiting!

troutbirder said...

Oh my this is right up my alley. In a way it touches my anthropology classes I took in college. Now from Stone age people (none left)to way way way back. Looking speculatively from now to the is really intriguing...:)

Jacqui Murray said...

@troutbirder I wanted to read about remaining primitive tribes, as the closest to my folks, but there just aren't any. I found a lot of old material on Project Gutenberg but even that was from the late 1800's/early 1900's.

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

It takes a great amount of imagination (and research!) to write a book about prehistoric times. This beginning of a new series sounds fascinating, and I wish the author much success with it.

(And thanks to YOU, Hilary, for telling us about it! Cheers!)

Rhonda Albom said...

This is an interesting concept for prehistorical fiction. It sounds like a good read.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Elsie - excellent that you know Jacqui ... while yes - kudos to her for setting out to write a trilogy. An awful lot of learning for us as we read her books ... it will be interesting.

@ Ray - that's great about tying in with your anthropology classes ... sounds like you'll enjoy Jacqui's book. The Stone Age is sooo far back isn't - yet still more is being found out about our pre-history. While the future ... just bemuses me - so much change!

@ Susan - I see Jacqui has been writing this series for 20 years ... yet of course - so much new material keeps being found and technology is really giving us new tools to 'investigate' with ... I find it fascinating.

It's been a pleasure having Jacqui over here ...

@ Rhonda - Jacqui really is stretching our imagination across the boundaries of pre-history ... and as you say I'm sure it'll be a good read ...

Thanks so much everyone for coming by and joining in with Jacqui's book tour - the premise for the different books in the trilogy promise much ... lots to find out about - cheers to you all - enjoy the weekend - Hilary

P. J. Lazos said...

Surely a great read!

Jacqui Murray said...

@Susan Thanks so much. The joy of this book was as much about writing it as researching it. We were amazing creatures way back when!

Jacqui Murray said...

@Rhonda Thanks, Rhonda! It is not the normal historical fiction, that's for sure!

Jacqui Murray said...

@P.J. Thank you so much! It wouldn't surprise anyone who knows about the wild and violent times that nurtured man that it is full of action.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ PJ - good to see you and to read Jacqui's promotion for her book over on your blog ...

Thanks to you both ... good luck Jacqui and all the best for the book and your trilogy ... over its publication - cheers Hilary

DMS said...

Thanks for the introduction to Jacqui. Sounds like an interesting book and trilogy. Wishing her all the best!
~Jess

Victoria Marie Lees said...

Oh my gosh, Hilary and Jacqui. This is so fascinating. What a great premise, Jacqui; one leader, five tribes in search of a new home. So many possibilities for tension. Bravo, Jacqui, and all the luck with this new release.

As always, Hilary, I always learn so much here at your blog. All the best to both of you!

Jacqui Murray said...

Thanks so much, Jess. I'm having fun writing it!

Jacqui Murray said...

@Victoria Marie Most people don't realize that Homo erectus has spread around Eurasia by about 850,000 years ago. It makes for interesting speculation.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Jess - good to see you ... it will certainly be an interesting read ... I'm looking forward to seeing how she's going to tackle the series.

@ Victoria - yes ... it is one major project isn't it. I'm sure it will fan lots of interest, as well as giving us lots of historical ideas about life in the paleolithic era ... so glad you visited us here ...

@ Jacqui - thanks for coming over to meet up with the latest commenters ... you've obviously 'titillated' many readers thought processes ... lots of food for thought

Cheers to you all - have good weeks - Hilary

Sandra said...

Have a pleasant, productive Monday.

Eddie Bluelights said...

Looks a very interesting read indeed.
Wondering when man first was able to sing using his own voice and not just imitating birds and animals. And then to go on and develop his/her singing capabilities and invent music.
Cheers Eddie . . :)

Jacqui Murray said...

@Sandra--it's starting out great. I'm taking my dog for a walk!

Jacqui Murray said...

@Eddie--I have not been able to uncover that yet--when song first broke out. I think mimicking is a reasonable extrapolation. Luckily, I don't believe it happened with Homo erectus so I can keep digging.

Eddie Bluelights said...

So Pavorotti had Homo Sapiens to thank for his wonderful voice and no Homo
Erectus . . . :)

Jacqui Murray said...

@Eddie--I believe so, and the ongoing maturation of the human brain!

Eddie Bluelights said...

I think it was Tarzan who first led humanity to singing with his jungle call and then it caught on and variations on his original theme came into being . . . :) ROFL.

btw Like your hat

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Sandra - thanks for the visit ... happy week to you too ...

@ Eddie - it's an interesting thought when voice became different from grunts or song from the throat. More and more research is being done ... so I expect an educated guess will become accepted in the foreseeable future ... Homo took his time to develop through the various stages (aeons) ...


@ Jacqui - thanks for coming by and being so professional in your approach to the very thorough book launch tour you've set up for the first in your trilogy - Man v Nature - 'The Survival of the Fittest' ...

I've read all the posts so far ... and it's been an interesting learning curve for me ...

Cheers to the three of you - Jacqui you in particular! Good luck - Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Eddie - then you nipped in ... Tarzan: a good thought and yes I agree Jacqui's hat is fun isn't it .. cheers Hilary