Jacqui Murray has put up three new reviews, and Murder in Plane Sight is one of them. Head on over to her site and check them out!
It’s been a busy week+ since my book release. Whew! And bonus: I got my books the day some of my readers (the ones who pre-ordered) got their books. There is something about holding the book in your hand to make it real.
Then there’s the whole “deer in the headlights” thing when the first person asks you to sign their copy of your book. First it’s: OMG, seriously? Then it’s: What the hell am I supposed to write?
And my awesome blog release tour hosts have helped spread the word since last week. If you haven’t stopped by their sites, here’s the list again:
I still stare at my book in a state of near-disbelief. It’s been a bit scary, because as an introvert, I’ve always tried to stay in the wings. It’s much quieter there. The problem with that, though, is it doesn’t encourage people to buy your books, which is kind of the point.
I start to turn, but my Muse stops me. Instead he picks up a book as he drops an arm around my shoulders and pulls me into him. Today he smells like rain with a trace of earthy loam. Spring.
“It looks good, love.”
“Thanks. People seem to like it.”
He gives me a squeeze before letting me go. “And they should. It took you long enough.”
Do I detect a hint of scolding in his voice? “Hey, there are writers out there whose first book took twice as long as mine did.”
He sets the book back in the box with the others. “Uh-huh. There are also a lot of writers out there whose first book took half the time.”
His eyes narrow. “Your second book better not take as long as this one did.”
I manage–barely–to avoid rolling my eyes. “I know, I know. And you know I’ve been trying to write Book 2 ever since I signed the contract with my publisher.” Seven rough drafts so far. Seven! I’m working on the timeline again. I need to start rough draft number 8. “But you know I also have other stuff to do in the next month.” Not the least of which is spring cleaning. Ugh. We host Easter for my husband’s side of the family. And taxes. And I need to finalize my session handouts for the upcoming Writers’ Institute.
My Muse rests a hip on my desk, arms crossed. “Are you going to work with me more this time?”
“Are you going to stick around instead of jaunting off to who-knows-where?” I counter.
“Are you going to sit your ass down behind the keyboard and write?” he counter-counters. “I’ve been here, love, but I can only stir up the creative energies for you. You have to write it.”
I can’t hold back this time. I roll my eyes. “Yes. I have been sitting …”
He waves a finger, cutting me off. “No. I mean, sitting behind the keyboard, no distractions. You have to re-establish your writing spot. You know it. I insist on it.” He stands, towers over me. “Got it?
“Yes. I’ve got it.”
He’s right, and since I haven’t done anything to set up my son’s room as a writing office yet, I’ll have to go back to my old spot.
Busy schedule coming up. I know there are a few other blog release tours going on, and I’m trying to keep up with them; I apologize that I’m so far behind. I’ve also got a few reviews to write, and some other promo stuff to experiment with.
And SPRING! Woo-hoo! Crossing my fingers we don’t have any late-season snowstorms like we did last year. This year looks promising, except for all the flooding. We are fine where we’re at, and I can get to work without a problem, so it’s good. I should start some kale and maybe a few tomatoes and peppers this weekend, so they have time to get big enough for the garden. I’ll keep you posted.
Have a wonderful weekend!
Happy Release Day!
Join me in welcoming my debut novel into the world!
Sierra Bauer, aircraft mechanic, struggled against personal tragedy to reclaim control of her life and her aviation career, but when she discovers a frozen body in her inspection plane, she must prove her innocence and uncover the key to exposing a deadly aviation conspiracy before she becomes the next casualty.
It has been a long couple of years, from the time I signed the contract with my publisher to today. And before that, a few years of writing, revising, and revising some more.
Follow me over the next couple of weeks as I tour through the blogs of some generous hosts. This writing community of ours is incredible, with writers supporting and encouraging each other. I want to extend my sincere gratitude to those who are letting me use their blog for a day to promote my book. THANK YOU!
Visit these blogs on the dates listed to learn more about Murder in Plane Sight :
Order at Amazon Barnes and Noble IndieBound
The countdown continues! I’m both excited and terrified at the prospect of my first book going out into the world. The inevitable insecurities are careening through my mind:
- OMG, other people will read my book!
- Oh. My. God. Other people will read my book 😮
- Will they like it? Will anybody like it?
- All those people at work who already bought or will buy my book–what if they don’t like it? Will they still talk to me? (yes, I know it’s a totally unfounded fear 🙂 )
- What if nobody likes it?
- How am I supposed to write book 2 and market this one at the same time?
- How do I contact bookstores to have them carry my book?
- Where is my press kit? My publisher said they were putting one together.
- What about a newsletter? Oh man, I should have put a newsletter together already.
- When will I get my printed books? Will I get them by the first weekend in April for the Writers’ Institute? *unintelligible grumbling*
- I have to schedule author events. When? Where?
- This is scary. What was I thinking?
- I’ll be fine. I mean, every author has to learn the ropes, right?
- Seriously, things will work out.
- Damn snowstorm. A-frickin’-gain. When will it end????
Hoo-boy. I know all writers go through this with their first book. Heck, probably with every book. Deep breath. Everything will be fine.
My Muse drops a stuffed duffel bag beside the back door to my office. His blond hair is sunbleached, a counter to the bronze of his skin. His well-worn jeans and hiking shoes don’t quite work with the muscle shirt emblazoned with a surfing gator and “Spring Break” in eye-searing orange and green. He hangs a red hoodie on the coat tree.
“Where the hell have you been?”
He flashes his crooked grin. The skin around his eyes is noticably lighter than the rest of his face. “Enjoying some sunshine.” He makes a show of opening the door once again and looking over the yard. “And sand. You know, not that cold white stuff outside.” He shuts the door. “You do realize the equinox is in two weeks.”
“Your point?” We’re supposed to get another 6-9 inches of snow this weekend. Ugh. “Don’t you have some pull with Mother Nature? I mean, you being a Muse with a capital ‘M’ and all?”
He sits on a corner of my desk. “Naw. Besides, she’s got her own agenda. Last I talked to her, she was planning, and I quote–” he makes air quotes–“‘weather experiments’.”
Gulp. “Um, why don’t you tell her she can send Spring on stage. I think Winter needs a vacation.” Although this week was the first week in over a month where it didn’t snow, like, every other day.
He combs his short hair back with his fingers and chuckles. “Yeah, well, she can be really sweet, but when she’s in a mood …” He shrugs. “Anyway. Are you ready for the release?”
“You mean besides not being able to actually hold my brand-new novel until who knows when? Oh, and no press kit yet.”
“You got your website going, though.”
“Yes! Finally! And I linked it to my blog. And my blog has a link to my website.” About flipping time, too. One would think someone who worked in IT for as long as I did would have been able to finish it sooner.
“Maybe so, but you never did a lot with web stuff. You did more basic programming and regular troubleshooting.” He loops an arm around my shoulders. “You did fine, love. Now, let’s see what kind of wine and chocolate you stocked up on. I might have to make a run.”
I have to say I’m glad he’s back, even if I’m not writing just now. I have workshop handouts to finish, and blog reading to catch up on. Sorry I’m so far behind, but I’ll catch up.
You can find the link to my website at the top of the page, or right here: Julie’s Author Website. It’s nothing fancy; I’m taking Dan Blank’s advice about keeping it simple. I’ll have to do some tweaks once the book comes out, and make sure I add the audiobook when it comes out on March 19, one week after the book.
I’ll be hunkering down during yet another snowstorm. Then rain next week. As if the 6-9 inches over the weekend won’t be enough.
Stay tuned! Stay safe! And keep writing!
Today I’m helping celebrate Jacqui Murray’s latest release, the first book of her Crossroads series.
The book is set in prehistory, when human survival depended less on brute strength and more on outwitting predators. Did those early humans have a way to explain their luck when they managed to survive until the next day?
Survival of the Fittest hints at a spiritual side to man. Is that accurate?
Scientists have no idea when man’s spirituality started. Because 850,000 years ago (when Xhosa lived) is considered prehistory—before any sort of recorded record—there’s no way to tell. Survival of the Fittest offers one speculative theory of how that could have happened.
Five tribes. One leader. A treacherous journey across three continents in search of a new home.
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.
Chapter 1 Excerpt:
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 neverFemales 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 herthose 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. 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…
Title and author: Survival of the Fittest by Jacqui Murray
Series: Book 1 in the Crossroads series, part of the Man vs. Nature saga
Genre: Prehistoric fiction
Cover by: Damonza
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
So, last week we got about an inch and a half of snow on Saturday, and 40-50 mile an hour winds (blizzard) on Sunday.
What does an inch and a half of snow look like after a day of blizzard winds?
Glad you asked.
The building beyond, that you can just see over the top of the drift, is a metal pole barn we call the machine shed, because that is where the previous owners would keep farm equipment. The mound in the middle of the drift is our brush pile/burn pile. Overall, I would estimate the drift is more than 8 feet high. The distance between the grove and the silo is probably 60 feet or more.
Sooo tired of snow. On the bright side, it’s not supposed to snow again for a few days. I know; after the past month, I’m not sure I believe it either. 🙂
Promo stuff. Ugh. I did order some bookmarks and flyers/posters. They didn’t turn out too bad.
Next up is my author website. I decided to leave the blog alone, and just link it to the author site (and vice versa). That way I don’t have to work the blog into the site. I have to keep reminding myself to keep it simple.
At this point I’m wondering when I’ll get a chance to write again. Seriously. But once everything is set up, it should be pretty easy to maintain. Especially if I don’t have to monkey around with the blog.
I have a workshop for my Sisters in Crime chapter to work on. It’s scheduled for Saturday, March 9, which so far is forecast to be snow-free.
Please don’t let it snow. Heck, as long as you’re at it, how about a whole week or two without snow? The solstice is three weeks away!
Daughter and I are going to see the new How to Train Your Dragon movie tonight. I don’t go out to see movies very often; I usually wait until they come out on DVD and get them from the library, but there are a select few I’ll see in the theater. Can’t wait! (Hopefully we can still get out the driveway; we got 2 1/2 inches of new fluffy snow. We should be fine as long as the winds don’t kick it around too much).
Have a great weekend, all!
Yep. We got 10 inches of snow on Wednesday. Another storm coming in this weekend is forecast to grace us with another 4-6 inches of snow.
I shovel the snow off the deck so it doesn’t build up. The deck is anywhere from 3 1/2 feet to 5 feet high depending on the ground (decks are generally level, the ground is not 🙂 ) Most of the deck is now level with the snow I’ve been shoveling off.
I’m running out of places to put it. This next snow is supposed to be wetter than the stuff we have been getting. Wetter snow = heavier snow, but also snowman snow. Maybe I’ll just build snowmen instead of shoveling.
Sooo tired of snow. Sooo can’t wait for spring. The vernal equinox is a month away, and as we experienced last year, it is no guarantee spring will arrive with any haste. Damn.
So, in light of the wonderful–not–storm, I’ll keep plugging away at promo stuff. I just listened–well, watched–a Dan Blank series about author websites. If you don’t know Dan Blank, you’re missing out. Seeriously. He was a keynote speaker at Writers’ Institute a few years back. He’s got some great advice for writers. And he always includes pics of his two boys in his weekly newsletter.
Anyway, the gist of the series was simplicity. Keep things simple. And connect with the reader as you would a person in real life. I have to say I’m kind of more okay with my author website not being finished yet. I think the whole idea of being simple will help me fend off the feeling of being overwhelmed by all the choices: themes, plugins, pages, oh my!
A lot of things still need to be done between now and March 12. I was hoping my Muse would stop by, but so far, no sign of him. I think he got bored with my looking through seed catalogs last night.
His loss. Me, well, I’m just wishing for more spring, less snow.
Another thing I’m chewing on is signing up for book festivals. There is a writers mini-conference (with an opportunity to sell books) happening in a month that my sister-in-law is involved in as part of a Friends of the Library group. I won’t be going this year, since I have no idea when I’ll be getting print books. She did invite me to the dinner the evening before the event, where David Housewright is the keynote speaker. Cool!
There are other opportunities, and I need to toss my hat into the ring for panels our Sisters in Crime chapter does. The group is a valuable resource, from events authors can participate in to getting the scoop about writers’ conferences. I can’t make Left Coast Crime, and Thrillerfest, but Bouchercon is in Dallas this year. Might have to go to that one.
Still no sign of my Muse. Hmm. I wonder if he and Mr. E are off on a pub crawl again. Anyway, today’s docket includes finalizing some promo stuff, ordering some swag, and I think I’ll squeeze some more seed catalog browsing in there. Between shoveling, of course. 😐
Keep Writing! If you are in the path of this weekend’s storm yet again, stay safe and warm!