Jacqui Murray’s book launch blog hop

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

Along the lines of Jean M Auel’s Earth’s Children series, Jacqui Murray writes prehistoric fiction. Survival of the Fittest is her latest release and the first in the Crossroads series, part of the Man vs. Nature saga. As this series features Homo erectus characters, I asked Jacqui the following: Most scientists believe Homo erectus couldn’t talk. How did Xhosa and her People communicate?

Jacqui’s response: These early humans were highly intelligent for their day and possessed rich communication skills but rarely verbal. Most paleoanthropologists believe that the ‘speaking’ part of their brain wasn’t evolved enough for speech but there’s another reason: Talking is noisy as well as unnatural in nature which attracts attention. For these early humans, who were far from the alpha in the food chain, being noticed wasn’t good.

Instead, they communicated with gestures, facial expressions, movements, and all the body language we-all still use but rarely recognize. They talked to each other about everything necessary, just nonverbally.

Makes you wonder about evolution, doesn’t it? We go from non-verbal to verbal, and now with technology, back to non-verbal again!

Below is a short extract for a taste of Survival of the Fittest, where to buy and Jacqui’s bio. Thanks for stopping by, Jacqui, and all the best for your book.

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Chapter 1

Her foot throbbed. Blood dripped from a deep gash in her leg. At some point, Xhosa had scraped her palms raw while sliding across gravel but didn’t remember when, nor did it matter. Arms pumping, heart thundering, she flew forward. When her breath went from pants to wheezing gasps, she lunged to a stop, hands pressed against her damp legs, waiting for her chest to stop heaving. She should rest but that was nothing but a passing thought, discarded as quickly as it arrived. Her mission was greater than exhaustion or pain or personal comfort.

She started again, sprinting as though chased, aching fingers wrapped around her spear. The bellows of the imaginary enemy—Big Heads this time—filled the air like an acrid stench. She flung her spear over her shoulder, aiming from memory. A thunk and it hit the tree, a stand-in for the enemy. With a growl, she pivoted to defend her People.

Which would never happen. Females weren’t warriors.

Feet spread, mouth set in a tight line, she launched her last spear, skewering an imaginary assailant, and was off again, feet light, her abundance of ebony hair streaming behind her like smoke. A scorpion crunched beneath her hardened foot. Something moved in the corner of her vision and she hurled a throwing stone, smiling as a hare toppled over. Nightshade called her reactions those of Leopard.

But that didn’t matter. Females didn’t become hunters either.

With a lurch, she gulped in the parched air. The lush green grass had long since given way to brittle stalks and desiccated scrub. Sun’s heat drove everything alive underground, underwater, or over the horizon. The males caught her attention across the field, each with a spear and warclub. Today’s hunt would be the last until the rain—and the herds—returned.

“Why haven’t they left?”

She kicked a rock and winced as pain shot through her foot. Head down, eyes shut against the memories. Even after all this time, the chilling screams still rang in her ears…

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If you’d like to read more, Jacqui’s book is available here: Kindle US Kindle UK Kindle CA Kindle AU

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


9 comments on “Jacqui Murray’s book launch blog hop

  1. How fun to spend the day with you, AJ! Thank you so much for hosting me. I have been looking forward to it!

    • Hi Jacqui, I’m sorry I didn’t make it back here sooner but Jeckle ended up in hospital and everything was dropped. It was lovely learning more about your book. I know how brilliantly your first book in the series was received and I’m sure this will be as good.

  2. I think we’d all be happier if we only communicated non verbally. At least sometimes 😉

  3. This sounds like an interesting book. How was it researched?

    • THat’s a great question, Sue. I think Jacqui has missed your comment so I’ve just sent her a little nudge to come and answer.

    • I had so much fun researching this. I’ve included a Citation list at the end of the novel of all my resources. I researched with the prominent paleoanthropology names but also read everything I could find on Great Apes (Jane Goodall, Birute Galdikas et al) and then paleo stuff about ancient Africa (circa 2 mya and 1mya). I reached a point when new stuff started fitting in with the old and a story was born.


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