Jill Weatherholt

Writing Stories of Love, Faith and Happy Endings While Enjoying the Journey


Welcome Jacqui Murray #Laws of Nature


Today I’m excited to welcome our friend, writer, teacher and the queen of world-building, Jacqui Murray as she launches Laws of Nature, Book Two in the Dawn of Humanity series. It’s a fascinating read.

Before I share a little about the book, I thought it would be fun for Jacqui to tell us how she organizes her writing. Those who know her know she is extremely organized.

Here’s Jacqui!

I am by nature a scheduled person. I thrive on organization, logic, and an orderly approach. In the case of my writing, I have TODO lists all over the place–and follow them. This one is in Google Keep which keeps me synced across all my digital devices:


I had about ten items on the Laws of Nature TODO list, prior to launch, which I thankfully completed.
Prior to a final read-through, I spend a lot of time on Autocrit, figuring out if I’m communicating clearly. They have a lot of online tools to assist that process that go well beyond grammar and spelling. Some of my favorites are repeated words, cliches, weak starts to paragraphs, passive voice, and filler words. Here’s how I did at one point in my editing:


Once the book is written, publishing can be complicated. There are lots of option and their requirements are never the same. I publish print and digital to KDP–Kindle–and another Kindle format for educators called Ignite. Each has different guidelines for things like page size, submittal requirements, file type, with or without a cover, and more. I keep that on a spreadsheet:.


This is much more involved for those of you who also publish through B&N, Smashwords, Nook, and all the rest.
To organize my series in my own head, I post Milestones on the side of my blog, WordDreams. It tells readers when the next book in the series is expected and reminds me that I’ve made a commitment to a timely publication of books–at least one a year.

Tagline introduction

A boy blinded by fire. A woman raised by wolves. An avowed enemy offers help.


In this second of the Dawn of Humanity trilogy, the first trilogy in the Man vs. Nature saga, Lucy and her eclectic group escape the treacherous tribe that has been hunting them and find a safe haven in the famous Wonderwerk caves in South Africa. Though they don’t know it, they will be the oldest known occupation of caves by humans. They don’t have clothing, fire, or weapons, but the caves keep them warm and food is plentiful. But they can’t stay, not with the rest of the tribe enslaved by an enemy. To free them requires not only the prodigious skills of Lucy’s unique group–which includes a proto-wolf and a female raised by the pack–but others who have no reason to assist her and instinct tells Lucy she shouldn’t trust.

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!

Book information:

Title and author: Laws of Nature

Series: Book 2 in the Dawn of Humanity series

Genre: Prehistoric fiction

Editor: The extraordinary Anneli Purchase

Available print or digital) at:Kindle US   Kindle UK   Kindle CA   Kindle AU  Kindle India

Author bio:

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 the 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. Look for her next prehistoric fiction, Natural Selection, Winter 2022.

Social Media contacts:

Amazon Author Page:        https://www.amazon.com/Jacqui-Murray/e/B002E78CQQ/

Blog:                                       https://worddreams.wordpress.com

Instagram:                             https://www.instagram.com/jacquimurraywriter/

LinkedIn:                                http://linkedin.com/in/jacquimurray

Pinterest:                                http://pinterest.com/askatechteacher

Twitter:                                   http://twitter.com/worddreams

Website:                                 https://jacquimurray.net


Welcome Jacqui Murray #NewRelease

Today I’m excited to help our friend, writer and the queen of world-building, Jacqui Murray as she launches Against All Odds, book three of her Crossroads series. This trilogy takes the reader on a journey into prehistoric times where survival is never guaranteed.

Before I share a little about the book, here is a question I posed to Jacqui.

You often say these people squat. Don’t they sit?

There is nominal physical evidence showing that early man squatted rather than sat. This includes tell-tale divots and scratches in the femur, tibia, and ankle bone of Neanderthals that would result from squatting a lot. Though Neanderthals are a more recent Homo species than Xhosa’s People, I make the assumption if they didn’t sit much, neither did Homo erectus. Another reason we presume earliest man preferred to squat than sit is because it’s far more natural for the body, even now, and it’s quicker to get into and out of a squat should danger arrive. Try it—you’ll agree.

Here’s a little about the book: 

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!

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


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:        https://www.amazon.com/Jacqui-Murray/e/B002E78CQQ/

Blog:                                       https://worddreams.wordpress.com

Instagram:                             https://www.instagram.com/jacquimurraywriter/

LinkedIn:                                http://linkedin.com/in/jacquimurray

Pinterest:                                http://pinterest.com/askatechteacher

Twitter:                                   http://twitter.com/worddreams

Website:                                 https://jacquimur ray.net


Why I Don’t Get Writer’s Block

By Jacqui Murray


An efriend writer originally published this as a guest post on their blog to help me launch Against All Odds August 2020. In case you missed it there, here are my anecdotal thoughts on how to add drama to your story:


I should get writer’s block. I write twelve hours a day, pretty much every day. Where it used to be a hobby, it’s now What I Do. Well, I teach also but that requires a lot of writing (because I teach online).

Before I explain why I escape that horrendous malady that over half of writer’s anecdotally report they suffer, let’s talk a little bit about writer’s block.

What is Writer’s Block?

Writer’s block is where you stare at a blank page for long periods of time, trying to write but are unable to find the right words. To put that academically:

“Writer’s block is a condition, primarily associated with writing, in which an author loses the ability to produce new work or experiences a creative slowdown. This loss of ability to write and produce new work is not a result of commitment problems or the lack of writing skills.” —Wikipedia

According to Terry Pratchett:

“There’s no such thing as writer’s block. That was invented by people in California who couldn’t write.”

Why (I think) I Don’t Suffer From it

I write a lot of different stuff, fiction and nonfiction, for myself and others, blog hops and my own articles. Each seems like a break from the other. I divide my day into thirds, each devoted to a different writing event. That way, if I get stale on one task, I move to a different one.

“The wonderful thing about writing is that there is always a blank page waiting. The terrifying thing about writing is that there is always a blank page waiting.” ― J.K. Rowling

Here’s how to get rid of it

Jack London has this to say about curing writer’s block:

“You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.” 

The folks at Master Class offer eight EASY ways to overcome Writer’s Block. I’m always suspicious that something labeled ‘easy’ isn’t but they had some good ideas including take a break, jump ahead in your novel, and freewrite. Still, I wondered if they would work so kept searching…

Darren over at ProBlogger suggests you make a habit of finishing any writing that you start.

Here’s an idea from Gabriel Garcia Marquez, the winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature:

“One of the most difficult things is the first paragraph. I have spent many months on a first paragraph, and once I get it, the rest just comes out very easily.”

Mark Twain suggested:

“The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.”

Here’s what I’d try if I got Writer’s Block

  • Pet my dog more often. It’s centering.
  • Read the entire Twitter feed from Thoughts About Dog. Here’s a favorite: “gooooob morning. if you think i won’t lie down. where the sun shines through the window. with these paws crossed. all day long. you are out of your mind”
  • Figure out what the heck “a bridge too far” means. I have no idea. Or find a way to defeat a Mobius Strip.
  • Create a false post hoc–like the fallacy that a rooster crowing causes the sun to rise. In my case, it would be that writer’s block means you can’t write.

More on writer’s block

University of Illinois’ Center for Writing Studies

10 Ways to Beat Writer’s Block from Penguin Random House

7 Ways to Overcome Writer’s Block from Writer’s Digest



Welcome Author Bette Stevens #wouldyourather

Today I’m excited to welcome our friend, author Bette Stevens. I got to know Bette through mutual blogs we follow and was then introduced to her books. When I read and fell in love with Amazing Matilda, I soon read all of her books. Most recently I enjoyed My Maine. A beautiful collection of haiku poems, along with her photographs, makes this the perfect read to revisit again and again. It would also make a great gift.
After our friend Pam played “Would You Rather,” Bette expressed interest in playing along.


Would you rather be able to freeze time or travel in time?

Travel in time! How wonderful it would be to visit the past and meet my ancestors. Oh, the stories I would write. And just imagine…I’ll even have a chance to visit with characters from my favorite books.

Would you rather be able to breathe underwater or fly?

Fly, of course! I’ve done it so many times in dreams and I assure you that flying is a wonderful thing… For my first flight, I would soar from Maine to Mexico with the monarch butterflies on their amazing migratory journey in the fall. Oh yes, I would write a children’s book about that journey—so that readers would be aware of the importance of providing pollinator plants that bloom during the fall for this near-endangered species and all of our migrating pollinators.

Would you rather know every language or know how to talk to animals?

As awesome as it would be to talk to animals, I would rather be able to speak and understand every human language. Communication is the golden key to unlocking the door of understanding—making the world a better place for everyone and every living thing.

Would you rather live in the middle of nowhere, with no people or stores within a 10 mile radius, or live in a busy city?

I would rather live in the middle of nowhere—a perfect place where peace and serenity prevail. However, my home and vehicle must be powered by solar energy. This “middle of nowhere” gal still needs to be connected to the greater world and a getaway to the big city every now provides the perfect vacation. By the end of vacation, “middle of nowhere” will be home-sweet-home again!

Would you rather never be able to write or never able to read?

That’s tough one, but I’d rather never be able to write, sort of… Reading is a must! I’m a visual gal and can’t get along without the written word. And guess what?  With modern technology, I’ll still be able to ‘write’ without putting pen to paper or tapping out words on the keyboard. All I’ll have to do is tell my virtual assistant to transcribe my writerly thoughts as I speak and my assistant will send them off to their destination.

Thanks so much for having me on your blog today, Jill. It’s been so much fun!


Thanks for playing along, Bette!  I particularly loved your answer about flying with the monarchs. ❤


Inspired by nature and human nature, author Bette A. Stevens is a retired elementary and middle school teacher, a wife, mother of two and grandmother of eight. Stevens lives in central Maine with her husband on their 37-acre farmstead where she enjoys reading, writing, gardening, walking and reveling in the beauty of nature. She advocates for children and families, for childhood literacy and for the conservation of monarch butterflies (milkweed is the only plant that monarch caterpillars will eat). Stevens has written articles for ECHOES, The Northern Maine Journal of Rural Culture. Stevens’s books include The Tangram Zoo and Word Puzzles Too!; Amazing Matilda, Children’s Picture Book (Ages 4-11) 2013 Purple Dragonfly Book Award and Gittle List; Pure Trash (MG/YA/Adult) Short Story; Dog Bone Soup (MG/YA/Adult) Coming of age Novel (2017 KCT International Literary Award Top Finalist 2017); and My Maine, Haiku through the Seasons (Poetry and Photography Collection) 2019.

WEBSITE/BLOG https://www.4writersandreaders.com

AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE https://www.amazon.com/author/betteastevens

FB FAN PAGE https://www.facebook.com/authorbetteastevens.officialfanpage?ref=hl

AUTHOR/ ILLUSTRATOR PAGE https://www.facebook.com/AuthorIllustratorBetteA.Stevens?ref=hl

FIND MAINE WRITERS https://find.mainewriters.org/writers/bette_a_stevens/

GOODREADS https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6037707.Bette_A_Stevens

TWITTER https://twitter.com/BetteAStevens


Welcome Author Pam Wight #wouldyourather

Today I’m excited to welcome our friend and talented writer, Pam Wight. Her latest children’s book is releasing October 15th, so we’re here to celebrate!

When I was a teenager, my girlfriends and I loved to play “Would you rather?” Since I love how Pam’s writer brain works, I thought it would be fun to ask her to play along.

Welcome, Pam!

Would you rather be able to freeze time or travel in time?

Oh, I’m a time traveler already: in my dreams, yes, but also often in my imagination. I don’t know why we’d want to freeze time, since our minds allow us to go back to a special moment whenever we want to!


 Would you rather have the ability to read people’s minds or make two people fall in love?

These questions are fun! In truth, I already read people’s minds. We all have that ability. It’s called “intuition” (insight). The more empathy we carry for someone other than ourselves, the better we perceive the thoughts and feelings of others. As to the second part, I don’t believe we can “make” someone fall in love with another. But if the spark is already there between two people, I’d savor the ability to light the match.

 Would you rather be able to breathe underwater or fly?

Oh dear, your readers are going to think you’re interviewing a rather, um, unusual person. Again, I already fly. Haven’t you, in the middle of the night, in a “more real than real life” dream? I’ve explored some fascinating territory on my own and with other flying dreamers. So my answer is I’d like to fly even more.

“The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease for ever to be able to do it.” ~ Barrie, Peter Pan

Would you rather know every language or know how to talk to animals?

By knowing every language, I would also know how to talk to animals, since each species has its own detailed and intelligent parlance. I know many of us already have delightful conversations with our pets, be they dog, cat, or parrot. I’ve just about gotten “hummer” parlance down. But I sure could use help with Italian and French.

 Would you rather never be able to write or never able to read?

Without reading, I could never write. Without writing, I’d miss the opportunities to connect with myself, with others, with the Spirit within us all. One is not possible without the other. Let me segue into finishing this by saying, reading and writing help me find my purr.

Blurb on Pam’s new book, MOLLY FINDS HER PURR


Molly the Cat is lonely. No matter how hard she tries to make friends with birds, they all fly away from her. Even other cats don’t seem to like her. Friendless, Molly has no purr. But a wisecracking squirrel opens Molly’s eyes to a world in which friendship comes in all sizes, shapes, and species.

This delightful tale with dazzling illustrations sparkles with sweet insight that makes all readers purr with pleasure at the end.


Pam is an avid reader and lover of writing. She began her career as a medical editor and writer of medical journals and textbooks, and happily moved on to creative writing and writing novels and children’s books. For over 25 years Pam has taught “Creative Writing for Fun” classes in the Boston and San Francisco Bay areas. In fact, one of her students became her co-author with her first book of romantic suspense, Twin Desires. Then Pam wrote her next novel, The Right Wrong Man, and soon after published her first illustrated children’s book, Birds of Paradise, which was named a Finalist in the International Book Awards. The two main characters (Bert and Bessie) of that picture book make an appearance in Pam’s upcoming illustrated children’s book, MOLLY FINDS HER PURR.


MOLLY FINDS HER PURR  is available beginning October 15th on Amazon and Barnes & Noble, as well as from the publisher, Borgo Publishing. 32-pages, hardbound. (Discounted price before 10/15 at Borgo Publishing.) Pam’s books of fiction are available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble in softback or e-book. And please check out her weekly blog at Roughwighting!


Links for Pamela S. Wight








The Right Wrong Man

Twin Desires

Birds of Paradise

Molly Finds Her Purr














Thanks so much for playing along, Pam! I’m looking forward to receiving my pre-ordered copy of Molly Finds Her Purr!

**I have some big writing news to share in my upcoming newsletter. Head over to JillWeatherholt.com to sign up! ❤


Never Say Never #self-publishing

Image Courtesy of Pixabay

Have you ever said you’d never do something?

I have.

I’d never go rock climbing.

I’d never eat liver.

I’d never intentionally hurt someone’s feelings.

I’d never drive without my seat belt.

I’d never text while driving.

You get the idea.

A few years ago, I mentioned to a couple of friends that I’d never self-publish a book.

Self-publishing is like a full-time job. I already have one of those.

Well, it turns out, I would.

Thanks to a wonderful group of ladies who extended an invitation I couldn’t pass up, I did this.

It’s been quite an experience. I definitely have a lot to learn, but with the right support and encouragement, I’m happy I didn’t say no to the opportunity.

If you’d like to receive an email when the collection is available for pre-order, simply follow me on Amazon.

Have you ever done something you once said no to?