New Book Release, “Against All Odds” by Jacqui Murray! #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity #NewRelease #PrehistoricFiction @WordDreams

I’m very excited to welcome, Jacqui Murray here today to celebrate the release of her new book “Against All Odds” and to learn about being a whale reader! I have my copy and I’m reading it right now:)


How I Afford to be a Whale Reader

Yes, I’m a whale reader. In case you don’t know what that is:

A whale reader is a person who reads 3-7 books a week, every week.

We’re an unusual species but there are more of us around than you’d think. I wrote about my experience as a whale reader here, going into detail on what that is, how I became one, and my favorite whale writers.

I’m often asked how I read so many books. For example, the last few years my Goodreads Reading Challenge has been around 200 books a year. The answer to how I do that is simple: I don’t have a life outside of reading and writing. Where other people do coffee with friends, movies out, and shopping trips, I do none of those. I don’t even do housework–I have a wonderful husby who doesn’t mind doing most of that. I used to be at the bark and call of my beloved Labrador but now, he sleeps most of the day. As a result, it takes a lot of writing and reading to fill my awake hours.

If you’re interested in becoming a whale reader, a big problem is affording all those books. You have to read books that interest you or you won’t be able to get through them. Starting with A in the library won’t work. Here’s how I find lots of books affordably:

The Library

I have an online account at the library. I reserve books I want to read and the library lets me know when they’re available. I have plenty on the list so some are always showing up in my email box.

Project Gutenberg 

The web-based Project Gutenberg has a wide assortment of free full-length books but focuses more on older books that have been in print for a while–not the most current books and probably no Indies. There is no fee, no registration. Just search and start reading.

Kindle unlimited

Kindle Unlimited is a lending library available through Amazon for certain Kindle digital books. You pay about $10 a month and can borrow up to 10 books at a time. Once you’ve read the book, you return it to Amazon and can borrow another. My husband encouraged me to do this because he tired of the daily charges for $.99-$4.99 for books I then consumed in a few days. He was right (he usually is). The $10 a month is worth it. You access this with your Amazon account.


NetGalley is a reader’s dream in that it offers ARC copies of a huge variety of books, both best sellers and niche. I get a ton of books from NetGalley. I have several publishers who auto-approve any selection I make. Others approve my request before making the digital ebook available. I usually get the books I request because I do my part to promote the authors by publishing reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, and wherever else I can think of.

Shared Books

Some Amazon books can be shared by the owner with others. Though this doesn’t work as well as I had hoped, I do get a handful of these books each year that I love reading.

Do you have any hints I can use for getting more free books?

Xhosa’s extraordinary prehistoric saga concludes, filled with hardship, courage, survival, and family.



A million years of evolution made Xhosa tough but was it enough? She and her People finally reach their destination—a glorious land of tall grasses, few predators, and an abundance that seems limitless, but an enemy greater than any they have met so far threatens to end their dreams. If Xhosa can’t stop this one, she and her People must again flee. 

The Crossroads trilogy is set 850,000 years ago, a time in prehistory when man populated most of Eurasia. He was a violent species, fully capable of addressing the many hardships that threatened his survival except for one: future man, a smarter version of himself, one destined to obliterate all those who came before. 

From prehistoric fiction author Jacqui Murray comes the unforgettable saga of a courageous woman who questions assumptions, searches for truth, and does what she must despite daunting opposition. Read the final chapter of her search for freedom, safety, and a new home. 

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



Chapter 1 

The foothills of the Pyrenees 

They came out of the mountains, hair frozen in sparkling strands, hands and feet wrapped in shredded pelts, ribs etched against their skin under ragged hides white with snow, faces haggard with fatigue. Blood crusted scrapes and gashes, many recent, others almost healed, reminders of the violent struggles endured on their journey.

Though their steps flagged, not one of these upright creatures exhibited a hint of defeat. All males and a few females carried at least one spear, some two, many with warclubs strapped to their backs. Despite the anxiety and fear of entering this foreign land, hope energized them today, that their migration might be at an end.

All of them—Xhosa and her tribe, Pan-do and his, Wind, Zvi, and Seeker—had been chased from their homes by enemies. In their flight, they found each other. It took time to work through their differences but now they traveled side by side, respected ideas not theirs, and called themselves the People.

Their charismatic Leaders—Xhosa, Wind, and Pan-do—were known as reliable friends to those who earned their trust and dangerous enemies to those who opposed them. Two wolves—Spirit and Black Wolf—journeyed with them. Though the People lacked the animals’ sharp claws, dense fur, and piercing teeth, each considered the other “pack” and would defend them to death.

The exhausted group straggled down the gently sloping flank, feet shuffling carefully over the slippery scree. The ground changed from talus to stunted tufts of grass, sparse and brown which made walking easier. Optimism shone from their faces even as their tired eyes flicked side to side in search of unexpected movement, ears strained for out-of-place noises, and noses sniffed. 

Rather than continue across the meadow, Xhosa led the People into the shade of the edging forest.

“Do you smell it, Wind?” Anticipation filled her gestures.

She and Wind, pairmates as well as Co-Leaders, stood quietly, absorbing their surroundings. Light filtered lazily through the canopy, the shadowed ground dappled with patches of warmth. She sniffed in the essence of wet earth and rotting leaves, the mustiness of moss, and something else much more enticing.

“It’s there.” She pointed and strode forward, lengthening her stride.

An icy gust whipped down the hillside through the shadows and raised bumps on her arms but she ignored it. The forest gave way to open sky and searing heat. It was too hot for her thin pelt but she didn’t stop to remove it. Green stalks swayed as far as she could see, edged on one side by more mountains and the other by some sort of leaves and branches. Sunlight glinted off the rippled surface of a distant river as it curled over the terrain.

“Dung!” The scent overpowered every other odor.

Wind huffed to her side. “It’s been a long time since we smelled dung that wasn’t frozen.”

“We did it, Wind.” Her eyes glistened with relief.

For most of a Moon, dread gnawed at her courage and left her wondering if following the guidance of Seeker—a boy barely a man—was a mistake. But Seeker assured her in his ebullient way that once out of the hills, their new homebase would welcome them. Xhosa wanted to believe him because she wasn’t sure what else to do. Nor did she know what to do if it didn’t work.

Wind motioned, arms inclusive, “It’s beautiful, Xhosa.”

Siri, Pan-do, Ngili, the wolves Spirit and Black Wolf, and the rest of the People gathered around Xhosa and Wind, eyes locked on what lay in front of them.

Pan-do whispered, “We made it.” His eyes were moist, mouth open.

Ngili, the People’s Lead Hunter, motioned, hands close to his body. “With all this grass, Gazelle or Mammoth must be nearby.”

Dust, the Lead Scout, trotted up, coming from a tall cliff far ahead on their forward path. “I think there are caves there.”

The People hadn’t slept in a cave since leaving Viper and the Mountain Dwellers. It would be a treat if true.

Xhosa looked behind. Shadows already stretched as far from the bottom of the rocky slopes as sunlight to the top. Daylight would soon end.

“We don’t have much time. Let’s rest and then see if those are caves.”

Ngili, the People’s Lead Hunter, motioned, fingers spaced out, palms up, “I’ll go with Dust to check.” He added a swift spread-fingered swipe with first one hand and then the other, followed by a quick bob of his head and a puff.

Xhosa brushed both hands down her sides. Go.

The People spoke with a complex combination of hand motions, facial expressions, body movements, and sounds augmented with chirrups, snaps, hisses, and whistles. By the time Ngili finished talking, Xhosa knew how many would join him, where they would go, and how long they’d be away. The People’s communication was sophisticated but quiet, a precaution especially in unfamiliar areas. Unusual sounds—voices, for example—stood out. All animals made noises but few as varied as the People’s. Why alert Others who lived here to their presence? Xhosa would do that in her own time, in her own way.

Dust, Ngili, and two scouts soon receded into the landscape, the only evidence of their passage a slight disturbance in the slender waving stalks. Despite the dung scents, the abundant plant food, and the glisten of a faraway river, Xhosa crossed her arms over her chest and paced.

Something is wrong.


 Book information:

 Title and author: Against All Odds

Series: Book 3 in the Crossroads series

Genre: Prehistoric fiction

Available digitally (print soon) at: 

Kindle US   Kindle UK   Kindle CA   Kindle AU


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 adjunct professor of technology in education, blog webmaster, an Amazon Vine Voice,  a columnist for  NEA Today, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. Look for her next prehistoric fiction, Laws of Nature, Book 2 in the Dawn of Humanity trilogy, Winter 2021. 

Social Media contacts: 

Amazon Author Page







48 thoughts on “New Book Release, “Against All Odds” by Jacqui Murray! #IARTG #ASMSG #WritingCommunity #NewRelease #PrehistoricFiction @WordDreams”

  1. Thank you, Denise, for sharing Jacqui’s latest with us. Your posting is incredibly well done. ♥

    1. I think my last comment got lost but if not, feel free to delete one of them. Just want to thank Gwen for her visit and I agree! Denise makes me feel quite welcome!

    1. Aw. Thanks Sandra:) Huge compliment to be included with Jacqui. Hugs. It is a fantastic series, I agree.

  2. I used to be a whale reader, but now that I’m a writer (ironically) I spend most of my time marketing, lol. Ideas for freebies; email prom companies such as eReader News Today and BookZio, review groups for your favorite authors, Bookfunnel promos.
    Enjoyed this excerpt!

    1. Great ideas to add, Jacquie:) Yes too much time is spent on marketing…ick. i consider myself a dolphin reader…lol.

  3. You are an amazing reader, Denise! I don’t get close to 200 books per year and I tend to read in spurts. I’ve taken a hiatus lately when I tried to read I book that I couldn’t get through chapter 7 because it didn’t hold my attention. It’s time to find a really good read that will grab me and suck me in! Thanks for sharing Jacqui’s new release!

    1. I have been hitting 75 books a year, still haven’t hit that elusive 100. Its amazing that Jacqui can read 200! I don’t think I’d make it to chapter 7 if I didn’t like a book. I usually shut it down around chapter 3 and move on. Been a few of those lately. Luckily I have many more good stories to read on my TBR list:) Right now I’m throughly enjoying Jacqui’s book!

  4. Wow! The excerpt grabbed my attention immediately! Congratulations, Jacqui! Thanks for hosting Jacqui today, Denise. 😊

    1. I just read that part in the book last night, Soooz. I never thought I’d enjoy prehistoric fiction, but I’m a fan now after this series.

      1. I’m looking forward to reading it. I don’t think I’ve read much at all in this genre. I think “Clan of The Cave Bear” was the last one.

  5. I’ve never quite made whale reader level but when I’m on a roll 2 books a week is my average. Writing and summer seem to distract from that, LOL.
    I was completely clueless about Project Gutenberg. Great post, Jacqui, and I wish you much success with Against All Odds.
    Wonderful job hosting, Denise!

    1. I haven’t gotten there either, Mae. Two a week is a good average for me too. Life can be distracting at times when I’m not reading, I agree. Summer and the holidays offer other things to do, but I still sneak a read in there. Thanks, Mae:)

    2. 2 books a week is pretty much whale reader, Mae. I love Project Gutenberg. All free and older books that are hard to find. I have done a lot of research there. You can even download them to your own devices.

  6. OMG whale reader?! I’m struggling at the moment beta reading one book while reading another one! And forget about writing while I’m doing either! You’re a star!
    This book (no, the whole series), is on my TBR pile – I can’t wait to delve into this one 🙂

    1. When I’m doing a beta read, I like to just focus on that, Jessica. Otherwise I get confused…lol. It’s amazing how much Jacqui reads:) This is a great series that made me a big fan of prehistorical fiction now. I’m reading this book right now and already found myself staying up way past my bedtime to see what was going to happen next.

  7. Interesting, Jacqui! Now I know what a whale reader is. You covered all the bases to get books to read. I enjoyed this post. My hubby is doing most of the chores, cooking all the meals and other stuff. I spend my time on gardening, feeding the birds and the like.

    Thank you, Denise for hosting Jacqui!

    1. I had to get creative about my reading when my husband started complaining about all the $3.99 purchases on Amazon. I realized I could be more creative than throwing money at my addiction!

      Your husband and mine would get alone I think.

      1. I agree that your husband and mine would get along. When we meet with friends and chat, many husbands do any cooking, only mine talked about watching YouTube videos and learned new recipes.

        Yes, you’re creative in getting books to read!

    1. Thank you, Sally 🙂 It is a wonderful book,I agree! I hope you have a fantastic weekend.

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