Create Your Own World, General

Queendoms: Prehistoric finds show powerful Native American women

Spiral by Margaret C. Murray Cover Art by Charr Crail

“One of the most spectacular finds from prehistoric North America.”—USA Today

In my novel Spiral, I created strong women at the heart of the story. I loved writing the powerful female characters of Willow and her shaman mother. But could this small family of determined women, the fruit of my imagination, ever possibly exist? 

Turquoise, silver and shells found in Pueblo Bonito crypt

Recently a friend sent me a USA Today article describing an amazing archeological find. Fourteen skeletons interred over four centuries were found buried beneath the Great House of Pueblo Bonito in Chaco Canyon  where Spiral and its sequel, Sundagger.net, take place. With the skeletons were discovered jewelry, shells and mounds of turquoise, more turquoise in fact than was found over all the prehistoric sites unearthed in the entire Southwest.

Ruins of Pueblo Bonito, Chaco Canyon, NM, taken from top of North Mesa

Obviously these were people of high station and power! What’s more, all the skeletons tested had the same “Mother DNA”. Their “exalted status was passed down not from father to son but from mother to both daughters and sons.”—USA Today

Happily I discovered women really were as strong and powerful in the ancient Southwest as they are in Spiral. 

Give the woman in your life the gift of Spiral.  Give this epic journey of adventure and magic realism to yourself and receive a signed copy of Spiral. Purchase now.


Signed by Author to:


Bonus!  Write a review of Spiral and receive a free ebook of the sequel, Sundagger.net. For details, email [email protected]

Book to Read, Create Your Own World, General

Holding my violin, watching the movie

A character can haunt you without you even knowing it, even when the story is finished, even after you’ve written it off! That’s what happened to me with Annie, the main character of Dreamers, after I saw The Late Quartet, a masterpiece of a movie about a string ensemble.

I wish I still had my violin. I just want to hold it.

The “late quartet “of the movie title is Beethoven’s Opus 131, String Quartet No. 14 in C-sharp minor, composed in 1826, one year before he died. In the movie, it is being prepared for presentation by the world-renown (fictional) Fugue Quartet, now in their 25th year playing together.

If the first violin part is the heart of the piece, the second part is its nerves, its soul. Robert, the second violinist, played brilliantly by actor Phillip Seymour Hoffman, offhandedly explains to a woman he’s soon to seduce that it’s not a competition thing between him and the first violinist, Daniel, just different. But in fact Robert lusts after the First Chair. He’s tired of Daniel, played by Mark Ivanir, calling all the shots for the Fugue’s performances. I can understand that.

I too played the violin, taking lessons from 4th through 9th grade.  While pretending to practice diligently, I was actually reading novels. Up in my bedroom, my door closed tight, I sat on the edge of my bed mindlessly and repetitively sawing on my violin while reading books, looking over the moving bow, turning the pages one after the other between scales. I never was part of a string quartet, but after being stuck in the second violin section of the Wilkinsburg Junior Symphony for three years, I was thrilled to move over to the first violin section in 8th grade.

This all comes back to me now with Beethoven in the background. Watching the movie, I experience the grief of the cellist, Peter, the oldest Fugue member, played by Chris Walken, upon learning he has Parkinson’s Disease; the anger of Juliette, the violist, played by actress Catherine Keener, discovering Robert has betrayed her; the longing of Daniel for young love (who just happens to be Juliette and Robert’s daughter) and the passion of Robert for his marriage and his art. All together the quartet unleashes amazing, ferocious and yet gentle music in the high artscape of New York City, a place that Annie would have understood. After all she fled there like I did too.

But Annie would not have blown off her practice sessions. And she would surely not have remained with the second violins as long as I did. I loved the music, but honestly, it stayed in the background while I concentrated on fashion and style. Before each junior symphony concert, I spent hours getting ready, ironing my short, tight, black wool “orchestra” dress with the pearl buttons down the bodice, attaching my stockings to those cold metal clasps hanging from my new garter belt, slipping into my black, pointy high heels. I couldn’t wait for that moment when we all walked on stage holding our instruments, when the audience became silent and the conductor, Mr. Reichenfeld, put up his baton. Out came the elegant soloists, young musicians like myself, whom I envied for their inscrutable, focused faces and those perfect notes they played.

In his glowing review, the late, great movie critic Roger Ebert comments that A Late Quartet is a unique movie in that it actually shows professionals at work. And the way I imagine it, Juliette is the professional musician Annie would have become.

Forget Annie’s painful, confusing family, her star-crossed love affair with Thomas. Forget the fear and racial upheaval of the Civil Rights era in Pittsburgh and New York City. It’s her possibility for success as a professional violinist that excites me now, a possibility I gave up all thoughts of achieving myself.

I can see Annie playing Beethoven’s late quartet, Opus 131, on that grand stage. Annie does the work, stays the course. After all, she’s a graduate of Julliard, the same prestigious music school Daniel graduates from and where Peter teaches.

When you meet Annie in Dreamers, it’s during Christmas break. She’s practicing in her room when her father interrupts her to listen in. But who else listens?  Who hears her play other than her family through her closed bedroom door? These are the thoughts I was having in my bedroom while I read my books.

Who’s listening to Annie? Not her embittered, dissolute teacher in Dreamers. Not Thomas, the actor she falls so much in love with. Only rich, addicted, openhearted Lana, Thomas’ ex-girlfriend, befriends Annie and demands to hear her music.  I want to hear her music too.

Holding my violin, I will now open the door of my bedroom.

Create Your Own World

The Luckiest Mom in the World

It’s a family affair, these coming holidays. And I am thankful, very thankful. When I want to feel even more grateful, I count my blessings.

Blessing #1: You, my reader.
Blessing #2: Selling my novel, Sundagger.net as a bundle with my son’s CD, Waterfall, Original Piano Music

How many mothers have a chance to sell their novel with their son’s CD?  Maybe no one. Maybe I’m the first?

I’m not Random House. I’m not Alfred Knopf or Penguin Books. Not Houghton-Mifflin. I’m one woman, a mother, with one novel and one small publishing company, WriteWords Press. But hey, this holiday bundle is testimony to one mother and one son’s best work done with their hearts wide open.

This is special. I’m lucky. Beyond lucky, I’m fortunate. The music CD Chris created and produced is haunting and lyrical and I love listening to it–whether or not it was my son who had composed and performed the piano pieces. Still, yes, it’s even more sweet knowing I am his mother.

To hear sample of Chris’ music and see the world of Sundagger.net, watch this video, Stones of Chaco Canyon.

So here’s what you get in our exclusive (and rare!) holiday special:

  • Sundagger.net, by Margaret Murray, a novel of one family, two worlds, and many lifetimes.
  • Waterfall: Original Piano Music by musician artist, Chris Goslow  (wwww.chrisgoslow.com).

Only $24.95 (plus  tax) for both book and CD.
Extended Savings! 20% Off if purchased by January 8th..
Pay with Paypal (which also accepts your debit or credit card.)
Buy NOW.

May your holidays be full of blessings.

Create Your Own World

Sonoma County Book Fair

BookFestival09

Meet me at the fair! Mention this email and purchase my book at 20% off list price.

Where: Sonoma County Book Fair
Old Courthouse Square
Santa Rosa, CA
When: September 25th, 10am – 4pm

I love to talk to people who talk about books. (This reminds me of the chorus in the Broadway musical, Music Man, “talkalittle talkalittle, talk talk talk talk talk”).

I haven’t met one person who wants to talk about books that I don’t somehow feel a connection to. That’s why I’m  manning (womanning?) a booth at the Sonoma County Book Fair.

Of course I’ll have copies of my novel, Sundagger.net, available for sale. But whether or not I sell a lot of books, I know I’ll be glad to be there. It’s like I’m at a testimonial to all the authors of all the books I’ve loved. I feel like I’m an important witness to the art of the written word. It’s exhilarating to be acknowledged by other writers and readers who like me, are somehow and often in love with self-expression through language.

What’s more, I’m asked great questions of the passersby. I get to talk about my experience writing and publishing. It’s energizing and exciting to reach out and connect with people who want to talk about books.I’ve had intriguing, deep conversations with the old, the young, the erudite, the simple-at-heart, even babies! Maybe a dog or two. It doesn’t matter what their age, race, or background is. Everyone tells a story and every story has a deep core of  sweetness; let’s call it truth.

So, I’m looking forward to the 25th of September. It will be a beautiful Indian Summer Saturday, deep in the heart of the wine country at  Old Courthouse Square in downtown Santa Rosa.

It’s a new beginning for me too, since I just moved to Sonoma County myself from the East Bay.

I’ll be introducing myself to all of you. Come talk to me.