Dawn of Humanity / Man vs Nature / Natural Selection

How I’m Doing on Natural Selection–5


Natural Selection is Book 3 of my trilogy, Dawn of Humanity:

A historical thriller in the spirit of Jean Auel, Dawn of Humanity follows a band of early humans as they struggle to survive in a world where Nature is King, where they are prey not predators. 

New tribe members, intimidating changes, and an unexpected end

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.

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Here’s what I did the past month:

I am struggling this month with writing. It’s not because I’m not working hard–I am, putting the time in–the pieces just aren’t coming together the way they usually do. There is so much disruption and confusion around, in the news, on the faces of friends. I worry… get distracted… find it hard to focus on fiction when the world I know seems to be imploding. Maybe I don’t know it. Maybe I never did. I still feel independent and fierce, but often as tired as a slow turtle (as one of my blogging buddies puts it). In the end, and what is getting me through, I’ll say again that old Navy wisdom:

Embrace the suck.

Like the world, a novel doesn’t always reveal its secrets quickly. Gone With The Wind took Margaret Mitchell 10 years to write, and Sphere took Michael Crichton 20 years. I won’t be that slow (though Book 1 in this trilogy, Born in a Treacherous Time, did take over 20 years), but I am way off my timeline. If you check the Milestone in my sidebar, you’ll see I keep pushing it back! And my bio at the bottom of each post now shows expected publication date of Spring, 2022.

Despite everything, I did get a few tasks completed:

  • Took care of edits from beta readers. Yikes! A lot but a relief that there were no ‘plot doesn’t work’ moments. The book is better for their work. Thank you to all of you!
  • I started thinking of the book launch a few months away:
    • write a series of articles to share with hosts during the official launch
    • create the book trailer, and one for the entire trilogy
    • create a map for the trilogy of Lucy’s travels
    • find bloggers who will host me to share my good news
    • update my social media
    • update other books in the trilogy to reflect the completion of this one
  • I’ve started researching the next trilogy. Working title: Savage Land. It deals with a time in prehistory when our species almost became extinct. When Nature almost beat us…

On the business side of writing (and maybe a big contributor to the stress and my low productivity), my disappeared bookkeeper continues to be a nightmare. We have a great guy who’s trying to fix things (for $60 an hour!). I’ll know more in a few weeks.

How are you doing?

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Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Man vs. Nature saga, the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers, and the acclaimed Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. 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, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. Look for her next prehistoric fiction, Natural Selection, Spring 2022


82 thoughts on “How I’m Doing on Natural Selection–5

  1. Dmitri Mendeleev, the scientist who came up with the structure that we use for the periodic table of elements, said that the idea came to him in a dream. You never know where your next big idea or breakthrough will come. I’m glad you’re not giving up, only “embracing” the block 🙂
    And, know that you are not alone in struggling with these truly trying times.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jacquie, I totally get being in the writing slump. I for one, gave up (for now) on my fitness book because I couldn’t write a motivational work when I, myself was not motivated. Of course we blame the pandemic, but you and I also remember that even sunny days in California are limited in the winter and SAD has an insidious effect on our motivation. Go get some more endorphins on your treadmill and sally forth (LOL!). Your books are worth the wait, my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Jacqui – I hadn’t picked up you were having bookkeeping challenges – what a pain – enough said. But also hadn’t been aware you were introducing a character who is going blind into your latest book … so I hope Chris’ story helps … it’s probably the realisation of the other senses being put to better use while knowing the group will look after him/her. Animal sounds the blind person will recognise more easily – synesthesia … might be a subject to look into … I know you’re very thorough … cheers Hilary

    Liked by 1 person

  4. “often as tired as a slow turtle” Oh my gosh, that is brilliant and totally how I feel. I think you’ve done heaps – everyone is just plain worn out after the way life has been the last couple of years (and you have a newsletter? Have I been under a rock? How did I not know that *scurrying off to sign up*)

    Liked by 1 person

  5. It sounds like you’re having your challenges, but I know you’ll get through them. January’s rarely anyone’s favorite month and with the extra challenges facing us, it’s an extra heavy load. I try to just focus on one day at a time, and yeah, I know all too well about delayed book publication; been going through that a while…And I love that expresison ‘Embrace the suck”

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Sounds like it’s time to take a break. It’s okay to do that. But will that make you crazy to put it all away? Yeah, me too. Maybe writing and sharing about it on your blog will help relieve a bit of the tension. You will work it out and especially so with that Navy wisdom!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. A great post that speaks to the ebb and flow that most writers (myself) experience. We are more than writers and have lives and responsibilities that lie outside our interest. Keep on, Jacqui! You’re doing great! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I think it is the nature — and indeed the role — of the artist to reflect the world as it’s happening around her, Jacqui, hence the reason we are so sensitive to unfolding events. I experienced that in 2020, when work on my novel was disrupted by all of the sudden tumult that marked that particular period. I think it’s okay to get a little “derailed” by all that — to take the time to process it, and internalize it, before we push ahead on our writing. No artist should ever, under any circumstances, practice self-recrimination! And certainly not for preternatural sensitivity!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Yay for the map! I’ve got an embryo of an idea, and I think I am going to start with the map this time.

    Embrace the suck is good advice indeed. Sounds like you are encountering Resistance. It must mean you are nearing the end of a big, important project. Good luck to you!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Sorry to read about that bookkeeper and the slow process, Jacqui! We are all rooting for you. You are still making progress – even though it might be slower than you want, you’re still heading in the right direction. And, you can change deadlines as much as you need as an indie author. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Some days it’s all flowing and great. Other times it’s hard not to be affected by all of the outside noise and chaos in the world. Most of the time, I can block it out pretty well. My wife and I celebrated her birthday yesterday—an excellent reminder of how lucky I am. She’s off to visit her sister for a couple of days, which means the dog and I get to hang out and write. Actually, I write, and she looks at me with those sad eyes that say, “When’s Mom coming home?”🤣

    Liked by 2 people

  12. I tried not to keep track of what is going on in the world, but even just the headlines disturbed me. Last night I commented on the news saying, are we going to have WWIII? I canceled my February trip to see my grandkids and rebooked it in March. I was put on hold for an hour in Alaska to process it. I didn’t want to just cancel the flights, because I would have to wait for weeks to get credit. Even booking the new flight yesterday, the airfares were $500 plus each for non-stop flights. Finally, I got someone on the phone and did the exchange and just paid the difference for one non-stop and the other with one stop.

    You still have a great plan and a good list of things to do ahead. You’re good, Jacqui!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Hi Jacqui, everything always seems to take much longer than we originally think it will. I am not where I hoped to be with my new book either [sigh!]. You will get there in the end – slow and steady like that there turtle. What is your bookkeeper – a computer programme?

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I hear you, Jacqui. I’m finally pulling out an old manuscript I set aside two years ago because I just couldn’t make any headway. What is surprising is that my readers are loving it. I thought they’d tell me to chuck it.

    Your next book sounds like another exciting adventure, and I’m eager to read it, so you’ll have to get cracking.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Congratulations on your progress, Jacqui! I have to get caught up with Books 1 and 2 before this one comes out. That’s MY goal. 🙂 I love when you said “Embrace the suck.” What we resist persists. 🙂 Have a wonderful day!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. In the last couple of weekes, I’ve noted a shift in the bloggers I follow. The current state of *everything* is really getting to people, myself included. I’m glad to see that you’re continuing to persevere with your writing.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. How exciting that you’re finishing your series. I just got stuck in writing the first chapter of my climax. I couldn’t believe it. A critique partner helped me through it, and I finished the chapter. It sounds like you got other productive things done for you book. Hoping that you figure out how to write what you’re struggling with soon.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I’m experiencing the same struggles, Jacqui. It certainly makes it difficult to maintain ones focus…sigh. Overall, it sounds like you’re making great progress. So did your bookkeeper program disappear? I’m sorry. I love the Navy wisdom!

    Liked by 1 person

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