Natural Selection by Jacqui Murray Blog tour

Today is my stop for Jacqui Murray’s blog tour for her latest book, Natural Selection.

The concept of how humans evolved is a curious and complex one, with not enough books on the topic. Kudos to Author Jacqui Murray for setting up these characters in such a time period, and basing them on true events! In this installment, Jacqui tackles a topic dear to me, because I can relate: an almost blind character, Ahnda. Having suffered an unfortunate series of event, Ahnda finds himself alone and almost blind. He has two options: give up and die, or keep going and achieve his goal (Finding Lucy and her tribe).

Read on to the end and find out what Author Jacqui Murray has to say about this character.

Title: Natural Selection

Series: Book 3 in the Dawn of Humanity series

Genre: Prehistoric fiction

Book summary:

In this conclusion to Lucy’s journey, she and her tribe leave their good home to rescue former-tribemembers captured by the enemy. Lucy’s tribe includes a mix of species–a Canis, a Homotherium, and different iterations of early man. In this book, more join and some die, but that is the nature of prehistoric life, where survival depends on a combination of our developing intellect and our inexhaustible will to live. Each species brings unique skills to this task. Based on true events.

Set 1.8 million years ago in Africa, Lucy and her tribe struggle against the harsh reality of a world ruled by nature, where predators stalk them and a violent new species of man threatens to destroy their world. Only by changing can they prevail. If you ever wondered how earliest man survived but couldn’t get through the academic discussions, this book is for you. Prepare to see this violent and beautiful world in a way you never imagined.

A perfect book for fans of Jean Auel and the Gears!


Available print or digital) at:

Could an almost-blind person survive primordial Africa?

There’s a fascinating character in the Dawn of Humanity trilogy, with a big part in my latest book, Natural Selection, named Ahnda. Ahnda is a normal early man youth, growing up with his tribe, looking forward to hunting and knapping stone tools with the adults, until a series of mishaps land him alone, in an unknown area, and almost blind. Ahnda would like to give up, but then he would die so he makes the decision to keep moving toward his goal–to find Lucy and her tribe–until he can’t. He learns to rely on senses other than sight, to be furiously aware of his surroundings, to trust his ability to solve problems, and to never give up even when his journey seems impossible.

I hadn’t planned on Ahnda’s sight challenges when I started writing Natural Selection. I developed Glaucoma and suddenly, unbidden, Ahnda’s mishaps ended him in near-blindness as though the Universe was telling me to stop whining. Others have it worse. At first blush, I didn’t believe it was possible for him to survive, and then I read Enos Abijah Mills’ story, The Adventures of a Nature Guide. He had been exploring the peak of the Continental Divide, alone as was his norm, when he lost his vision to snow blindness. In the late 1800’s, there were no phones, compasses, or any other technology to help him out of this trouble. Most of us would ponder our mortality, but Mills rationally and calmly found his way back to civilization by employing his remaining senses:

“[Blindly, trudging through endless snow, I shouted] … listened intently … and noticed the direction from which the reply came, its intensity, and the cross echoes …”

The farther he traveled, the less Mills cared what nature threw at him. Each problem presented an opportunity to learn about the natural world and himself. That became the model for Ahnda. Today’s world has lots of sight-challenged individuals who function well with canes, seeing-eye dogs, and clickers, but Ahnda has none of those. Is it reasonable that he could survive? Let’s look at the science.

There is a lot of evidence backing up the ability to navigate one’s environment via sounds.

One: Bats fly in dark caves and find insect prey using a skill called echolocation. They produce sound waves outside of the human ear’s ability to hear to locate objects around them. You can do an Internet search for details.

Another: Sight-challenged people can learn to move around well using a combination of sonar, echolocation, and “clicking”. If you didn’t know they were sight-challenged, you wouldn’t know. Interested? Search “Daniel Kish” and “Perceptual Navigation” for more information.

I bet all of you know at least one physically-challenged individual that doesn’t let that stop them at. all. Share those stories in the comments!

About Jacqui Murray:

Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular prehistoric fiction saga, Man vs. Nature which explores seminal events in man’s evolution one trilogy at a time. She is also author of the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers and Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. Her non-fiction includes over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, reviews as an Amazon Vine Voice,  a columnist for NEA Today, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics.

Social Media contacts:

Amazon Author Page:






Read an excerpt:

The Canis’ packmates were all dead, each crumpled in a smeared puddle of blood, Upright killing sticks embedded where they should never be. His body shook, but he remembered his training. The killers’ scent filled the air. If they saw him—heard him—they would come for him, too, and he must survive. He was the last of his pack.

He padded quietly through the bodies, paused at his mate, broken, eyes open, tongue out, pup under her chest, his head crushed. A moan slipped from his muzzle and spread around him. He swallowed what remained in his mouth. Without a pack, silence was his only protection. He knew to be quiet, but today, now, failed.

To his horror, a departing Upright looked back, face covered in Canis blood, meaty shreds dripping from his mouth, the body of a dead pup slung over his shoulder. The Canis sank into the brittle grass and froze. The Upright scanned the massacre, saw the Canis’ lifeless body, thought him dead like the rest of the decimated pack. Satisfied, he turned away and rushed after his departing tribe. The Canis waited until the Upright was out of sight before cautiously rising and backing away from the onslaught, eyes on the vanished predators in case they changed their minds.

And fell.

He had planned to descend into the gully behind him. Sun’s shadows were already covering it in darkness which would hide him for the night, but he had gauged his position wrong. Suddenly, earth disappeared beneath his huge paws. He tried to scrabble to solid ground, but his weight and size worked against him and he tumbled down the steep slope. The loose gravel made gripping impossible, but he dug his claws in anyway, whining once when his shoulder slammed into a rock, and again when his head bounced off a tree stump. Pain tore through his ear as flesh ripped, dangling in shreds as it slapped the ground. He kept his legs as close as possible to his body and head tucked, thankful this hill ended in a flat field, not a river.

Or a cliff.

When it finally leveled out, he scrambled to his paws, managed to ignore the white-hot spikes shrieking through his head as he spread his legs wide. Blood wafted across his muzzle. He didn’t realize it was his until the tart globs dripped down his face and plopped to the ground beneath his quaking chest. The injured animal odor, raw flesh and fresh blood, drew predators. In a pack, his mate would purge it by licking the wound. She would pronounce him Ragged-ear, the survivor.

Ragged-ear is a strong name. A good one.

He panted, tail sweeping side to side, and his indomitable spirit re-emerged.

I live.

But no one else in his pack did.

Except, maybe, the female called White-streak. She often traveled alone, even when told not to. If she was away during the raid, she may have escaped. He would find her. Together, they would start over.

Grab your copy!


A writer’s worst nightmare

What’s a writer’s worst nightmare?

To develop a block in the middle of a book?

To see his creation getting all the negative reviews and none of the positive?

To not find any reader interested to read his work?

To see a long career reach an end when a new idea for a new book refuses to come?

They’re all a nightmare, yes, but they aren’t my worst. Not this time around, anyway.

I experienced my worst nightmare two nights ago.

I have two laptops. One, a very old one, the one I learned to use with the assistive software, aka screen, I use to read and write. It has functions that I like to use when I write that the new screen reader on the new laptop doesn’t have.

That old laptop is really old. Not just the model, but the programming as well. Now, you may think, just upgrade the program, and that would work for most everyone. Except I can’t upgrade the screen reader on it because it wasn’t the original download. And if I upgrade the rest of the programs, the screen reader will stop working.

I have another laptop with another kind of screen reader. It’s good, and it’s the newest version. But this new program doesn’t have all the features that that old program has. (And that old program is very expensive- while the new one can be downloaded for free)

Because the internet on that old laptop is very slow, when I need a file from it, I use a flash memory. Now, I’m really careful with my books, so I keep saving the file on to the memory drive, then copy pasting it to this laptop, then attaching it to e-mails that I send to myself.

But about a month ago, the flash memory I use disappeared.  So I got a new one, but the laptop refused to acknowledge it. Something about new drive and tech stuff I can’t understand. As I was already revising the second book in the Roxanne Fosch series, Heir of Doom, I continued revising, with my brother’s promise that he’d take a look at it.

And two nights ago, after I finished the revision and started running the spell check for the last time so I can finally get the book out to the betas… the laptop died on me.

I was desperate enough to have my brother looking at it in the middle of the night. Ok, it was eleven pm, but because the screen on that laptop was broken (I don’t need a screen, remember, I’m blind) he’d needed to add an external screen to see what was going on. But it turned out that the laptop not only wasn’t taking a new flash memory, it wasn’t accepting any external drives.

So I went to bed at two in the morning, and I tossed and turned and wondered if my brother would be able to get the file for me.
But in the morning, while I was checking my e-mail on my new laptop *hmmm, coughs* (three ears isn’t old, right) I found an e-mail from my brother. With my manuscript attached.

I almost cried with relief.

He had to take the old laptop apart and plug the hard disk to another computer, where he was able to extricate all the files I had on that old laptop.

So what’s a writer’s worst nightmare?

For me, it’s to finish a book and then not be able to get to it.

When All Else Fails, You Have to Dream – Guest Posting for Christy B.

I was invited to guest post on Christy birmingham’s blog a few weeks ago (some of you may know her as Christy B. from ‘When Women Inspire’) and at first I wasn’t sure about what to write. She’s a prolific writer with her own poem book out there, and she hosts all sorts of successful people, I was intimidated at first. I wanted it to be something impressive, something positive, and something big, and so I struggled to come up with something. And then, one night before I fell asleep, I told myself, why not write the truth, from the beginning?
And that’s what I did.
Thank you, Christy, for this opportunity.
Please join me in welcoming author Jina Bazzar here today. You may know her from Authors Inspirations, where she blogs about her experiences writing and editing a book as a woman who is blind. She created her blog to connect with other women who are undergoing the publishing journey and have disabilities. I remember when I first learned about Jina’s blindness and I was blown away by this as I recognized the big challenge to the writing process that must bring her. Jina is an inspiration, as you will see from her guest post below.
When All Else Fails, You Have to Dream – Guest Post by Jina Bazzar
When I first became blind over a decade ago, one thing I had in abundance was time. There was nothing really much I could do to entertain myself besides listen to loud music, bake, and sometimes listen to talk shows on TV.
In a world … Click here to read more:

Correcting misunderstanding part II

I was going to post today something completely different, but as this topic was brought to my attention three times in the past few days, I decided to address this one first.
A few days ago I posted a post about correcting misunderstandings and the lack of confidence when a person tries to explain something.
Well, as I’ve received three e-mails from fellow bloggers inquiring if they were the reason I wrote that, I decided to come on here and clarify – correct a misunderstanding.

As those of you who have been following me for a while know, I have a son who likes to climb trees. He’s four – or will be in a few days, and he’s a pro monkey.
I also have a neighbor who thinks I’m not apt to be a mother because I’m blind.

So, like I do most days, the other day I let my son play outside while I cleaned my kitchen. Like some of you already know, my kitchen window faces the tree my son likes to climb, so while he’s out there playing, I can hear him. But instead of climbing that tree, my son climbed the fig tree, which is covered with slippery moss.
He fell, scraped his hands and knees.
I didn’t take him inside, afraid that someone would notice he fell, but I stayed with him outside while he cried, hugged and kissed him. His hands and knees weren’t wet with blood, so it was really nothing but a few scrapes.
And of course my neighbor saw that.
I owe her no explanations, and if my son fell off the tree it was not because I’m blind and can’t tell his whereabouts.
But as I was checking on his sister in the living room when he fell, I couldn’t tell he had moved from tree to tree.
I believe not even someone who could see would have been able to tell, seeing that the living room is on the other side of the house.
It was my reply, the way I defended myself to my neighbor that bothered me. My son has been climbing trees since last summer, and although he did fall a few times, like the other day, it was nothing serious. Who has never scraped his knees and hands when playing?
I’ve been climbing trees since I was a youngling as well, and I’ve had my share of falls and adventures stuck on a tree while waiting for someone big enough to help me climb down.
My mother was never judged for that, and I don’t believe there’s anything wrong with letting your child play and explore what he likes to do.
My son was back on the tree within half an hour – the one facing the kitchen window, and I let him, confident that he knows how to climb up and down without any assistance. At least now he knows that fig tree is too slippery, and hopefully he has learned a lesson. Knowing him, I’m sure he’ll try again, because he’s the type who will keep after something until he can get it.

So, fellow bloggers, I was not talking about any of you, and this is not a continuation of a comment I left in anyone’s post.
I apologize if I made anyone uncomfortable with it, and trust me, if I had anything to say to a post, I would either leave a comment or drop you an e-mail.
If I don’t like what I read, I simply don’t leave a comment and I move on – and now you’re wondering about the lack of a comment, which could also mean I simply have nothing to say.

I didn’t need those five years anyway

Today I lost a few years of my life.
As I was preparing lunch, my three year old son and my five year old daughter went to play outside. It’s cold, but there’s some son and they have been cooped inside since Saturday, so I let them. Some distance farther away, my eldest son is playing with the older kids.
About thirty minutes I heard my little hooligan baby (my three year old son) telling his sister he was going to climb the olive tree. As this is something he’s used to do, I said nothing. My kitchen window looks directly at the tree, so anything he says I can hear.
And then all of a sudden he starts screaming and crying. Also something normal, so I asked his sister, “What’s wrong with him?”
And she told me””He was stuck.”
As this is also something that, sadly, happens with frequency, I told him to start climbing down slowly – the same thing I say every time this happens.
Today, however, the crying went on.
“What’s wrong with him,” I asked my daughter again, a little worried, but not alarmed.
“He’s stuck.”
So I went out, as far as I know how to go, but unfortunately, to the tree, I’d have to cross a rocky path and dodge the reaching branches of the tree.
“How is he stuck?” I asked, really worried now.
And my daughter said, “There’s something around his neck.”
And that’s when my son started coughing.
I shouted for his brother, supposedly playing nearby, but he didn’t answer. So I shouted for my brother’s wife, who also didn’t answer.
Alarmed, I called and called, and no reply came back.
I was about to brave the rocky terrain; crawl to my sobbing son if I had to when my brother called to see what my shouts were about.
He ran out to my son, and there was no rope around his neck but a small line caught in his hair that pulled every time he moved.
I lost a few years today, but I probably didn’t need them.

2nd edition coming soon

In a few days the second edition of Conscious Talk Magazine will go live, and today I wanted to share with you some of the articles from the first edition. The first one, ‘Donning a writer’s hat’ was written by me, a real story about my writing career and how I got to be where I am today. The second one, ‘Owning my disability’ talks about my blindness and how I came to accept and adapt. The rest is one of a few written by different members of the team.
Do come in and check us out.
(Note: To prevent yourself from being carried away from the page, right click on the link and choose ‘open in a new window’.)

Donning a writer’s hat

Owning my disability

Author spot light interview: Jack Binding

Seven small ways to practice self-love today

Six step improvement exercises to benefit any writer

The ancestor of modern breakfast

Seven make up tips to make your eyes pop

Pitching your screen plays

How to talk to someone with cancer

The $7 Makeup Sponge That Actually Compares To The Beauty Blende

Conscious words: My words will do the walking

The Censorship of Women’s Bodies Is More Than Unfair – It’s Dangerous

Parenting & Family
Parenting Styles, Attachment, And Finding A Balance

And don’t forget to check out our thoughts against gender discriminations:

Gender discrimination – the team’s thoughts

The woes of being blind

Blind coordination and frequency

People who are blind depend on their other senses to go on their day to day lives. Taste, odor, touch, sound, and even instinct, though you may argue the latter is not part of our senses.
Today I awoke with a cold, sore throat, runny nose, left ear full of pressure.
Now, to a normal person that’s nothing but annoying, but to a blind person it can be argued a cold is actually dangerous.
When a blind person is familiar with his surroundings, he doesn’t need a guide dog or any help to move around. For example, inside my house, I know where everything is, everyone is, what’s on the stove. From the sounds, scents, and the position of which the sound came from. I can tell when someone is talking to me while looking on the opposite direction, if my kids are standing or sitting when they speak to me – all from the position of the sound.
So when there’s pressure in my ear (the left one), it means I hear better from my right, so naturally, I become disoriented. The door that should have been to the left is now to the right, and POW! I crash into it. It’s also easier to poison a blind person with a sore throat, because the sense of taste? Practically useless. Starvation is also a possibility.
My mother always tells me that the eyes eat first, but if that’s true, I don’t know why the entire world hasn’t gone blind.
And if the house suddenly starts burning down? I can’t really smell it now, can I?
Usually when I develop a cold, I tell people I have no frequency. The screen is out, the sound is often too low, requiring people to keep repeating themselves.
So you see, a simple cold to me means the loss of frequency and coordination.