“What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything?”
― Vincent Van Gogh
Spring 2023 From Heart to Paper Writing Workshop Live!
Classes: 9 Saturday Mornings Location: West Contra Costa Adult Education Alvarado School 5625 Sutter Ave Richmond, CA 94804
Dates: April 15, 2023 —June 24, 2023*
Time: 10:00AM to 12:00PM Pacific Time
Margaret C. Murray has been leading From Heart to Paper Writing Workshops for over a decade. A professional author and teacher, Margaret is presently preparing her most recent novel, Deer Xing, for publication. She is also the publisher of Writewords Press.
To read what her students say about the workshop, seeTestamonials.
Read more about Margaret C. Murray’s From Heart to Paper Writing Workshop below.
Enchanted by stories? Looking for poetry, drama, biographies, and non-fiction? Yearning to read your next good book? Addicted to the magic and artistry possible with words? Fascinated by small press possibilities? Excited to talk with others who feel the same?
If your answer is “Yes” to any of the above, consider coming to the outstanding Bay Area Book Festival that takes place on Saturday, May 7th, and Sunday, 8th from 11AM to 5PM at Martin Luther King park in downtown Berkeley, CA.
At the festival, there’s so much for you to explore, including book readings by incredible authors from around the world, state-of-the art discussions and fascinating panels. Click Bay Book Festival for all the details.
BAY AREA BOOK FESTIVAL
Saturday, May 7th & Sunday,May 8th
11AM – 5PM
Martin Luther King Civic Center Park
2151 Martin Luther King Jr Way
Berkeley, CA 94704
At the Festival you will find me, Margaret C. Murray, under the canopy of Booth #36, Thoth Writers Collective, by the Main Stage in the Park.
What is the Thoth Writers Collective? We are a group of six writers across two continents, from Spain to California, who collaborate via Zoom, email, etc., to encourage one another and improve our writing which spans interpersonal and gender dilemmas, global conflicts and myth. We take our name from Thoth, the ibis-headed god who introduced writing to the ancient Egyptians. Below is a short bio of each of us.
Jan Alexander, based in New York, writes both fiction and non-fiction that reflects how globalism and technology are changing everything, in good ways and bad. Her books include Ms. Ming’s Guide to Civilization (novel, Regal Publishers 2020); Getting to Lamma (novel); Bad Girls of the Silver Screen (with Lottie Da; nonfiction). See more at https://www.janalexander.com/portfolio-category/books/
Geoffrey Fox, based in Spain and New York, is the author of the novels Rabble! A Story of the Paris Commune (2021) and A Gift for the Sultan (2008), translated into Turkish as BirCihan, Iki Sultan (Nokta Istanbul, 2012) and the short-story collection Welcome to My Contri (1988; augmented e-book 2017). His best-selling sociological work is Hispanic Nation: Culture, Politics and the Constructing of Identity (University of Arizona Press, 1997). See https://geoffreyfox.com/
Karla Huebner is a novelist and professor of art history at Wright State University, Dayton, Ohio, and author of Magnetic Woman: Toyen and the Surrealist Erotic (art history, University of Pittsburgh Press), In Search of the Magic Theater (novel, Regal House 2022) and other works. See https://www.karlahuebner.com/
Dirk van Nouhuys writes novels, short stories, experimental forms, and occasionally verse. He has a BA from the Stanford creative writing program and was a minor pioneer of what later became the internet. He has published a book on Macintosh applications, and a translation of two Flemish novels, The Danger and The Enemy. He publishes fiction regularly in literary and other magazines. See http://www.wandd.com/Site/Publications.html
As for myself, I am the author of novels Sundagger.net, Dreamers, Spiral and Pillow Prayers. I’m also the publisher of Writewords Press, and teacher of From Heart to Paper Writing Workshops. Presently I am fine-tuning my upcoming novel, Deer Xing. You can read more about me here.
Solstice Celebration sign lit up outside the Richmond Library
The Winter Solstice — a time to honor the promise of rebirth in the dead of winter, the ancient legacy of prayer and hope in the face of the unknown darkness, the sun returning, and the power of Nature.
I’m inviting you to join me at the interactive Zoom Winter Solstice Celebration hosted by the Richmond Public Library, Richmond, CA on December 21, 2020, the day of the Winter Solstice.
I’ll be welcoming this darkest time of the year with music, art, drumming and a book reading. I’ll share astronomy and history, focusing on the Chaco Puebloans known as the Anasazi, the ancient Native Americans of the Southwest who constructed massive buildings aligned with the heavens.
In honor of the Winter Solstice I’m offering a Special 2 for 1 Solstice Bundle of my Anasazi companion novels Sundagger.net and Spiral for a limited time. Buy one and you’ll receive the second book FREE.
Buy the bundle! Two novels for the price of one. SAVE 50%!
+ for just $17.00*
See you on the Solstice! —Margaret
* Offer good through December 31, 2020. Tax and mailing costs not included.
From Heart to Paper Writing Workshop Four sessions: Monday evenings: 6:30PM – 8:30PM Dates: 7/8/19 – 7/29/19 Find out more. To Register, click on the Writing is Easy button.
Plus a 5-Day Intensive
From Heart to Paper Intensive Writing Workshop Five sessions: Two Monday & Wednesday evenings: 6:30PM – 8:30PM plus one Saturday morning: 10AM – 12PM Dates: 8/5/19 – 8/17/19
Find out more. To Register, click on the Writing is Easy button.
Click here for recent From Heart to Paper workshoptestimonials.
Expressing yourself in words is a wonder and a joy.
Hola! I’m back in California now, missing San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. Here I am with my new best friends at an art gallery extravaganza for the Day of the Dead.
Alas, we’re all a little worn out. If you’ve seen the Disney movie, Coco, you’ll have a good idea of the Day of the Dead festival. In San Miguel de Allende, I was very fortunate to be invited to stay with an old friend in her sister’s elegant home.
There’s nothing like a live performance of Mozart’s last work, Requiem, to make me feel holiness all around. I took this photo as I sat enthralled in the packed La Parroquia Cathedral in Centro, the center of town, on the night of The Day of the Dead. What a feeling of communion and comfort I experienced with a diverse, appreciative crowd.
A few days later I had a book reading nearby at Garrison & Garrison Books that took place in a charming courtyard. I was surprised to have my audience’s rapt attention as I pointed out details from my Southwest Anasazi books, Spiral and Sundagger.net, with characters whose ancestors clearly would have come from Mexico. Wherever I could, I included actual Southwest artifacts that I’d learned of in my research. For example, in Spiral, Little Hawk, savors a small jar of chocolate that a park guide told me about during my 2015 trip to Chaco Canyon, New Mexico. The chocolate shows that Southwest Pre-Puebloans knew of, and traded, with ancient pre-hispanic Mexico as cocoa plants do not grow in the American Southwest.
My last day in Mexico I went on a day tour of ancient pyramid ruins with Albert Coffee, an expert tour guide in the region’s archeology, who spoke of recent findings of human and dog skeletons, a severed head carried hundreds of miles for final interment, and even a young elite, female warrior, all buried in the pyramid complex of Canada de la Virgen (Canyon of the Virgin). The name refers to a geode rock discovered at the site during excavation that broke, revealing an image of the Virgin Mary.
It’s thought there are other pyramids inside this visible one. That day my big accomplishment was to climb the tiered pyramid of the Canyon of the Virgin, just recently excavated. I made it all the way to the top! The rocks were huge and uneven, of sparking limestone. The pyramid itself was built to match the paths of the sun and moon across the sky, much in the same way as the Anasazi aligned their Great Houses in Chaco Canyon, New Mexico.
I wonder if I’ll ever find words to describe my enchantment with “The Heart of Mexico”, as San Miguel de Allende is called.
If only I could sing like this bird I saw as I was walking along the path of a botanical garden in the hills outside the city.
—Yellow headed blackbird in the Charco del Ingenio Botanical Garden.
Take a breath. Imagine the deep, quiet, heartbeat of stillness. Breathe in that feeling of Peace.
“In Pillow Prayers, the reader is carried along by a mystery that takes aim at both hypocrisy and grace.”—Alice Elizabeth Rogoff, Editor Haight Ashbury Literary Journal, author of Mural and Painting The Cat’s Vision.
“A moving and beautifully cadenced story. Anyone old enough to have lived through the tumultuous, free love, drug and color enhanced ’70s will recognize these characters. You may want to re-read the opening just for the pleasure of the prose.”—Geoffrey Fox, author of A Gift for the Sultan and Welcome to My Contri
I don’t often think about these questions while I write. Mainly I just keep on in my writing groove, inspired by the vision I had at eight when I read The Boxcar Children, by Gertrude Chandler Warner, a teacher turned children’s writer. Did you read that book too? I wanted to write just like Gertrude.
I started thinking about how I write a novel while waiting for my daughter at Many Rivers Books & Tea, a bookstore on the corner of Main Street in the Sebastopol, CA. Though it was Sunday, my daughter was at school—she teaches 4th grade this year—preparing the next week’s lesson. We were going to celebrate Annemarie’s birthday by having tea together. But my daughter was late, so I browsed the aisles of books, teas and objects designed to further the bookstore’s mission “to provide customers with tools to support genuine spiritual practice.”
Soon I got into a conversation with Jim Wilson, one of three owners of Many Rivers Books & Tea, that continued until Annemarie arrived. Then we had tea and she bought two bags of rune stones for her class studying medieval England. I got a present too, because Jim invited me to read at the ongoing “Thursday at Many Rivers” event on April 9th, 2015.
So how does writing novels fit in with spiritual tools and spiritual practice anyway? Four words came to me as if displayed across a screen of a Powerpoint presentation: Earth, Sky, Spirit, Story.
I realized I begin a book starting with the earth and write from the ground up. I write from the place where my characters are, seeing what they see. With them, I look upward to the sky, searching for—call it spirit, a vision—and from that cloud-spun, high unknown space, the story emerges. I do this again and again, beginning in the same way: earth, sky, spirit, story. It becomes a practice.
Decades ago I began writing Dreamers from the vantage point of the cobblestone streets of Pittsburgh during the civil rights upheaval of the 60s. As a streetcar turns the bend in a snowstorm, it smashes into Thomas’ brand new, borrowed Impala, upsetting baskets of newly-clean laundry. It is this seemingly innocuous accident that drives the love affair of Thomas and Annie.
In my novel of magic realism, Sundagger.net, I compare two deserts, chapter by chapter, matching the actual Anasazi ruins of the American Southwest with the spiritual desert I experienced working as a tech writer in Silicon Valley.
Spiral, the prequel to Sundagger.net, begins with Willow, a girl coming of age, standing at a dry riverbed, searching Chaco Canyon for a famed hunter with whom she’s desperately in love. From the desert floor, Willow talks to lizards and to crows.
The ancient Anasazi of the Four Corners area, where Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona meet, knew the connection between Earth, Sky, Spirit and Story too. All you need to do is to look from their amazing Great Houses to the heavens to realize it; they designed their buildings and created rock drawings to align with the equinoxes and solstices.
I too followed the same migration route my characters take in Spiral, beginning from the Great North Road, sixty miles long, which you can only see with aerial photography. At my Reading on April 9th at Many Rivers Books & Tea, I’ll share selections from my novels as well as a short videos from my three trips to the Four Corners area, where I explored Chaco Canyon, NM and its furthest, northern outlier, Chimney Rock, CO.
NOVEL WRITING AND MY SPIRITUAL JOURNEYS TO FOUR CORNERS
Earth, Sky, Spirit, Story with Margaret C. Murray featuring her upcoming novel, Spiral
Recently my eldest son and music artist Chris Goslow and I talked about putting together a special gift bundle that is truly “all in the family.” We decided to offer a book/album package at a big savings. For a limited time, you can purchase and enjoy my books, Sundagger.net and Dreamers, along with Chris’ albums, Waterfall and I Love You .
Click HERE to see more about the mother & son bundle.
In the short interview below, you can see how Chris and I share much in common creatively and are able to work well together.
1. What does this mother-son bundle mean to you?
Margaret: From as far back as I can remember, I have been writing away at my novels and my son has been playing music. The idea of presenting my fiction and my son’s music together in a fun way is just delightful, even magical.
Chris: Personally, it’s very satisfying for me to support my mom’s creative accomplishments while sharing my own.
Margaret: Three years ago Chris and I offered a Holiday Mother-Son Bundle for the first time, and I loved that experience. I was living up North in Sonoma County and would take the inscribed book and CD packages to a rural post office in Graton, CA driving along beside the apple orchards and vineyards in the green, winter mist. It was so fulfilling to me; I felt one with nature, the season, and my writing life. Back then we each had only one product, but now we both are offering two artistic works–four altogether. That’s a real achievement!
2. Talk about your working relationship with each other. Do you often help each other when it comes to creative projects, and if so, how?
Chris: I remember being in grade school and hearing my mom talk about wanting to publish her books. I also had my own creative dreams, so for both reasons it was an especially important issue to me. Our creative paths have had a lot of parallels, even though obviously I have been focused on music, and she has been focused on writing. Then again, I also am a writer, and she loves music. In fact, the main character in Dreamers is also a musician.
Margaret: Yes, I made Annie in Dreamers the violinist I wished I was when I was taking violin in grade school! As for how Chris and I work together, this year we started having a Monday work meeting via Skype. As usual with most of our collaborations, Chris came up with the idea. The original objective was to discuss our two different teaching careers since we are also both teachers, but we ended up talking about all the parts of our writing and music lives. For example, I’m typing my answers to this interview Q&A today during our Monday Morning Skype Meeting while at the same time talking and seeing Chris on my computer screen! Isn’t that magical!
3. Do you find it surprising that you are both artists? And did you always know you could work together this well?
Chris: It’s not surprising. It’s just part of my life, always has been. I always felt an affinity with my mom and a closeness with her as well as a desire to help her be happy. So the seeds of our working together go back a long way.
Margaret: No, it’s not surprising to me that Chris and I are both artists. The surprising part–the amazing part– is how necessary, how life-changing Chris is to my writing life, and how much a difference he makes. Sharing my writing life with him a practice I don’t want to ever stop. Honestly, it’s astonishing to experience how all my children work together with me and each other. Chris’ brother, Jonas, is a performing artist too as well as a consummate web designer. Jonas designed this website as well as my Sundagger.net website. Their older sister is a singer and teacher; Annemarie, with her eagle reader’s eye, was my first copy editor.
4. It’s clear that family is important to both of you. How does family influence your creativity? For example, do you write about your family, are any of your stories (or songs) based family experiences?
Chris: Family influences a lot of my art over the last few years. In fact, my entire I Love You album came about from songs I wrote for my wife, Charr Crail, or about our relationship. Even my first album Waterfall included mostly piano pieces I originally wrote the first year I met my wife, specifically after she asked me for music that she could use with photography slideshows she was making. So in a sense, both albums are an outgrowth of our relationship.
Margaret: Pretty much all my life I thought I would never write about my family because they were just too ordinary! Maybe that’s why I was so attracted to the ancient Anasazi of the Southwest, the characters in the “old world story” of Sundagger.net. But still I definitely drew from my own experience, using my own family as building blocks. And clearly, Dreamers is laid out against the backdrop of my life growing up in Pittsburgh, PA during the upheaval of the Civil Rights era. I stood on all the street corners the main characters, Thomas and Annie, did. Each contains a description, a voice, or an attitude of my own memories of my family, friends and lovers. Even the dog, Lucky, is based on my sister’s dog! All the music mentioned in Dreamers are pieces I played or loved myself.
Northern California Storybook &Literature Festival Returns Saturday, April 14th
I am honored to be one of the authors featured in the 2nd annual Northern California Storybook and Literature Festival. Come celebrate books, reading and literacy with me. Experience Native Californian Maidu culture too. It’s all happening at the Maidu Library and Community Center in Roseville (The Maidu Museum is within walking distance). And it all takes place on Saturday, April 14th from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
I will be speaking on the Fiction panel from 11:30 to 12:30PM. Click on this program to see all the scheduled events and panels.
On the Fiction Panel, I’ll be asking and answering your questions. Perhaps I’ll speak about my background growing up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in the shadow of the very first Carnegie Library where I was, in effect, saved by books. Or I’ll share my experience writing and publishing with a small press: How my latest published novel, Dreamers, a Coming of Age Love Story of the ’60s, was written over too many years. How a ruined dwelling in the Southwest desert led me to write my first novel, Sundagger.net, a Story of One Family, Two Worlds and Many Lifetimes. Plot, characters, setting and style also fascinate me so maybe we can talk about that. But more importantly, I’m looking forward to hearing from you–and the books you have loved, written or want to write. We’ll have lots of time to share. Look for me at my booth.
I’ve also invited Shelley Buck, author of Floating Point, to display her memoir so she’ll be there at the display table along with me, talking about her journey “Endlessly Rocking Off Silicon Valley” on San Francisco Bay and, like me, looking forward to greeting you.
You can find us sitting at the WriteWords Press booth. Come take a look at my novels: Dreamers, A Coming of Age Story of the ’60s and Sundagger.net, a Story of One Family, Two Worlds and Many Lifetimes. I’ll be happy to talk about whatever you like. What writer doesn’t want to share their work!
Saturday, April 14th 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Maidu Library and Community Center
1530 Maidu Drive, Roseville, CA 95661
Along with myself and Shelley, there will be authors from across Northern California, including New York Times bestselling author Deborah Underwood and local Roseville favorites Ann Martin Bowler and Jack L. Parker. These writers have written a variety of children, teen, adult, fiction and non-fiction books.
It’s Free! And there is something for everyone in the family. As well as author panels, the festival also features family entertainment, book signings, free crafts for children, and even advice on how to get published.
Barnes & Noble will handle all book sales and you can purchase delicious sandwiches, fries, etc. from local Drewski’s and coffee, shaved ice, pastries, etc . from Karen’s Coffee throughout the day.
The Native American Maidu Museum and is close enough that you can walk to it. The museum is built on the edge of an ancient village site in which Nisenan Maidu people thrived for over 3,000 years, featuring petroglyphs carved into the sandstone boulders.
It’s exciting to be part of this book celebration organized by the Roseville Public Library, Placer County Library and Sacramento Public Library. Plus I get to visit my son, Chris Goslow, and my new daughter-in-law, Charr Crail, who live in Sacramento.
As the City Librarian of Roseville, Natasha Casteel says,“ We hope the entire family will come to get inspired, use their imaginations, and meet the people that create books.”
Directionsfrom Sacramento: Take I-80 east to the Douglas Blvd East exit. Continue heading east on Douglas Blvd. Make a right on Rocky Ridge Drive heading south. Make a left at Maidu Drive into the regional park.
The Maidu Library is located at 1530 Maidu Dr., Roseville, CA 95661.