Guest Author with a New Book – Jacqui Murray

New book feature


Today’s guest is friend and author/blogger/editor/teacher, ‘word specialist’, and book reviewer. Jacqui Murray. Jacqui is also an adjunct professor who teaches graduate classes for teachers. She runs a blog called Ask A Tech Teacher, where she shares her technical tips for writers.


I’ve been following Jacqui’s other blog, Worddreams for a couple of years now, where she’s always sharing something interesting for writers from word meanings and uses, how to write characters effectively, how to write reviews, how to blog effectively, and so much more. Most recently Jacqui ran a great series on her A to Z challenge where she posted about writing in a different genre everyday. She went through the alphabet in genres, not leaving out a single letter – including Q and X. Who ever knew there were so many genres?


Jacqui Murray


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, and the thrillers, To Hunt a Sub and  Twenty-four DaysShe is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer,  a columnist for TeachHUB, monthly contributor to Today’s Author and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. You can find her books at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning.


Jacqui’s newest book:


Twenty Four Days by Jacqui Murray


Short Synopsis of Twenty-four Days:

A former SEAL, a brilliant scientist, a love-besotted nerd, and a quirky AI have twenty-four days to stop a terrorist attack. The problems: They don’t know what it is, where it is, or who’s involved.


Long Synopsis of Twenty-four Days:

What sets this story apart from other thrillers is the edgy science used to build the drama, the creative thinking that unravels the deadly plot, and the sentient artificial intelligence who thinks he’s human:

An unlikely team is America’s only chance

World-renowned paleoanthropologist, Dr. Zeke Rowe is surprised when a friend from his SEAL past shows up in his Columbia lab and asks for help: Two submarines have been hijacked and Rowe might be the only man who can find them.

At first he refuses, fearing a return to his former life will end a sputtering romance with fellow scientist and love of his life, Kali Delamagente, but when one of his closest friends is killed by the hijackers, he changes his mind. He asks Delamagente for the use of her one-of-a-kind AI Otto who possesses the unique skill of being able to follow anything with a digital trail.

In a matter of hours, Otto finds one of the subs and it is neutralized.

But the second, Otto can’t locate.

Piece by piece, Rowe uncovers a bizarre nexus between Salah Al-Zahrawi–the world’s most dangerous terrorist and a man Rowe thought he had killed a year ago, a North Korean communications satellite America believes is a nuclear-tipped weapon, an ideologue that cares only about revenge, and the USS Bunker Hill (a Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser) tasked with supervising the satellite launch.

And a deadline that expires in twenty-four days.

As America teeters on the brink of destruction, Zeke finally realizes that Al-Zahrawi’s goal isn’t nuclear war, but payback against the country that cost him so much.


Kirkus Review:

A blistering pace is set from the beginning: dates open each new chapter/section, generating a countdown that intensifies the title’s time limit. Murray skillfully bounces from scene to scene, handling numerous characters, from hijackers to MI6 special agent Haster. … A steady tempo and indelible menace form a stirring nautical tale


Quote from author:

What sets this series apart from other thrillers is the edgy science used to build the drama, the creative thinking that unravels the deadly plot, and the Naval battle that relies on not just fire power but problem solving to outwit the enemy.


Today we’re going to get to learn more about Jacqui and her latest book, Twenty-Four Days, which she recently launched.


You write nonfiction teaching books, so what inspired you to begin writing fiction?


I wrote the nonfiction technology-in-education books because there were so few materials out there for tech teachers. Once I completed them, I shared them and it grew from there. I started fiction because I had stories in my head that wouldn’t go away unless I wrote them down. So I did!


It’s no secret that you read so many books and share excellent reviews about them on your blog.  Please share with us how you manage to make time to read so many books while teaching, writing and everyday life?


I really don’t have a life outside of writing and teaching. I’m not complaining—those two keep me quite busy–but I don’t have hobbies or grandkids and my adult kids love across the country. If I didn’t have all my wonderful Indie authors to read, I would get darn bored!


Do you think that being a technical writing teacher makes the process of self- publishing easier for you?


I am into lists, which definitely comes from the tech side of my brain. That makes it easier!


What advice would you offer to new aspiring authors?


This is something I learned late in my writing career: Write yourself into a corner. Then, escape. There are different ways of saying that, but it’s always true. If your story is character-driven, the corner is mental, spiritual, emotional. If you like plot-driven stories, it’s action. Doesn’t matter—just do it!


What inspired you to write two books based on a submarine story?


Believe me, I never would have chosen that. I’ll blame it on my muse!


Last year you published Book 1 – To Hunt a Sub. Did you anticipate a sequel at the time or were you already preparing for this new book while preparing to publish Book 1?


I had an agent for Twenty-four Days, the sequel to To Hunt a Sub. I was always kind of sad that the sequel would come out first. I suppose it’s God’s will that the agent didn’t work out so I got to publish these two in order.


Please share an excerpt with us from your new book, Twenty-Four Days


Excerpt: From the first chapter


Monday, August 7th

HMNB Devonport England

Until last month, Eyad Obeid considered himself a devout Muslim. He prayed five times a day, proclaimed God’s glory in every conversation, and performed the required ablutions when confronted with uncleanliness. When his brother was executed by Israeli gunman five years ago, Obeid swore retribution. No nobler purpose could he imagine for his worthless life than dying for Allah.

But instead of a suicide vest and the promise of seventy-two virgins, the village imam enrolled him in college to learn nuclear physics, thermodynamics, chemistry, and math so complex its sole application was theoretical. Much to Obeid’s surprise, he thrived on the cerebral smorgasbord. In fact, with little effort, he attained all the skills required by the Imam.

By the time he earned his Ph.D. in Nuclear Physics, he had learned two lessons. First, he was much smarter than most people around him, and second, the western world was not what he had been told.

Now, just weeks after graduation, Eyad Obeid approached the dingy Devonport pub on the frigid southern shore of England and wondered how to explain to the man responsible for giving Eyad Obeid this amazing future that he would fulfill his obligation, but then, wanted out.

He squared his shoulders and entered the pub.

His stomach lurched. Rather than his mentor Salah Mahmud al-Zahrawi, he found the Kenyan and his three henchmen. He had first met these thugs in San Diego California where he learned to run a nuclear submarine under the friendly tutelage of British submariners. When Obeid finished his studies, the Kenyan slaughtered the Brits. No warning. No discussion, just slash, slice and everyone died.

As did Obeid’s belief in the purity of Allah.

The nuclear physicist jammed his hands into his pockets, hunched his shoulders, and approached the table. The Kenyan had never introduced himself and Eyad Obeid lacked the courage to ask.

“I was expecting Salah al-Zahrawi,” Obeid offered as he slipped into the booth.

The Kenyan stared past Obeid, eyes as desolate as the Iranian desert, thick sloping shoulders still, ebony skin glistening under the fluorescent lights. Danger radiated from him like the hum of a power plant. He had three new fight scars since their last encounter, like angry welts but otherwise, he looked rested, clearly losing no sleep over the slaughter of innocents.

“You have one more job before you are released.” In a quiet, toneless voice, the man without a soul explained the new plan, finishing with, “If you fail, you die.”


Thank you for being with us here today Jacqui. I’m sure that many new readers will be following your blog(s) after this post now that they have gotten to know a bit about you and your writing and teaching tips. And I’m sure they will love your books equally.


Social Media contacts:



You can visit all of Jacqui’s other published works HERE 

47 thoughts on “Guest Author with a New Book – Jacqui Murray

  1. I really enjoyed To Hunt a Sub and now Twenty Four Days. I love Jacqui’s metaphors and similes “The twenty foot swells tossed the ship around like a politician’s promises during primary season” being one of my favourites.


  2. Jacqui seems to be such a wonderful person! She reminds me of my own self…when my life too was immersed in teaching, grading and occasional writing to inspire my high school students…also parenting, the most important job of being an inspiring mother.
    I marvel at your tech knowhow Jacqui, both sides of your brain conspire so well…to write fiction as well as technical books! I loved reading about you.
    Thank you Deb for those questions, you are so good at them. 🙂 Have a wonderful weekend friends.


    1. Thank you So much Balroop for leaving your wonderful comment for Jacqui and for taking the time to visit. Jacqui is quite amazing at running her teaching blog and her writing blog and her books. Wishing you a wonderful weekend too my friend. 🙂 xx


  3. Great interview, Deb. Jacqui is utterly amazing. I’m no where near as prolific as she is, and I barely have time to do the laundry! Twenty-Four Days sounds very intriguing and definitely my cup of tea. Wishing Jacqui every success with her new book ♥


  4. Great interview, Debby and I love your questions! Oh, don’t blame your muse, Jacqui, it seems to be inspired!!?? As always you give us great advice and I like the idea about backing yourself, character or plot, into a corner…I’ll keep this in mind! ?


    1. I had a funny experience as I’m planning Book 3. I tend to run my ideas past my husband and in one plot point, he said, “That’s impossible. She won’t be able to fix it.” Bingo! Exactly what I’m looking for!


  5. Hi Deb – good to meet you via Jaqui – she is a wealth of information isn’t she. I love the idea of the submarine stories … full of tech, and full of mystery with crime – a good combination. I can see where the brain full of lists comes into its own – the A-Z … that makes sense. Jacqui you’re a wonder full of ideas for us … and with great links – thanks Deb for featuring Jacqui – cheers to you both – Hilary


    1. I haven’t met a lot of adjunct professors, Terri. I’m going to check out your blog. My teaching expertise is in technology-in-education so I discuss that on a separate blog ( Fun stuff!


      1. I’ve done it for most of my life–almost forty years. Lots of different approaches. I taught recreation-type classes (ballroom dancing) at the local college. Those were huge and hugely gratifying.


    1. So glad you’re following Jacqui. She’s a wealth of information. 🙂 Again, sorry for the delay Norah. I just fished this out of spam. 😦


  6. OK, I LOVE Jacqui’s advice about writing yourself into a corner and then escaping! So profound! I never looked at it like that but it certainly shows that you have to be open to possibilities. Great interview here, Debby and Jacqui, including the exciting excerpt from the latest book. All the best on the book!!


  7. Love that excerpt – I think I might have to move outside my usual genres and give this one a read.
    I used to thrive on spy novels and the like when I was younger (obviously why my fantasy series is about spies…), perhaps I’ll head back that way again. This looks like it might be a step along that path.


  8. Great interview, Debby! I am a fan of Jacqui’s blog, and it’s nice to be able to get a little insight into her creative process and the development of her works of fiction.


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