Sunday, April 2, 2017

What is Maggie transcending?

Big publishing news this week: Maggie in the Dark is out!

Big hugs to those of you who have already picked up a copy. I know the book is a bit of an unknown quantity; I haven't talked much about it, other than mentioning that it has something to do with the giant earthworks that the Hopewell and other ancient Native American civilizations built in the Eastern and Midwestern part of the United States.

As it happens, the series doesn't have a whole lot to do with the earthworks themselves. But archaeologists have speculated that the Newark Earthworks in Ohio were built to mark the passage of time -- not just of seasons or years, but of the moon's transit across the heavens on its 18.6-year cycle -- and they've further speculated that ceremonies were held when the moon appeared to stand still, at the northernmost and southernmost points in its cycle. Presumably, the thinking goes, the ceremony or ceremonies may have involved an effort to renew both the moon and the earth. So the idea of renewing the Earth was one of the jumping-off points for me, when I began planning the series last year. As Transcendence is the series title, it makes some sense that someone may have to transcend something in order to accomplish Earth's renewal.

Renewal was a theme in the Pipe Woman Chronicles, too. The whole thing was put in motion by White Buffalo Calf Pipe Woman, who believed monotheistic religion was preventing humanity from becoming all it could be. Her solution was to send all the gods and goddesses back down to Earth to knock heads and persuade everyone to behave. But that turned out to be harder than it looked. The peace that Naomi and Joseph fought so hard to attain in the first five books was almost constantly under attack. In the end, the gods couldn't solve every problem. Humans still had to save themselves.

Where the Pipe Woman Chronicles went for a global renewal, the Transcendence trilogy is much more personal. Here, the gods don't show up on anyone's doorstep; they send messages by way of mysterious strangers, gut feelings, and dreams. The main character, Maggie Brandt, meets an elderly woman named Granny at the Great Circle Earthworks. Granny charges Maggie with -- you guessed it -- Earth's renewal. Maggie's journey is a personal one, done face-to-face: she must revisit turning points in her life by visiting the people who were involved in them, and she must then repair the damage she did back then. Her reparations are sometimes more painful to others than the original wounds, but like surgery, they're necessary for healing. It's not easy. To make matters worse, she's going largely by gut instinct; her only road map is the copper turtle effigy she found when she was a child.

Another aspect of the series is that several of the characters are elderly women with memory problems. That's no accident. I'll talk about that next week.

For the next few days, the Kindle edition of Maggie in the Dark is available at Amazon for just 99 cents. Please feel free to stop by and pick up a copy, if you haven't done so already. And thanks in advance!

Oh, and one more thing: If you know of anyone who might enjoy the Pipe Woman Chronicles, please let them know that they can get a copy of Seized for free at Instafreebie. Thank you! And I hope your friend will thank you, too...

These moments of bloggy transcendence have been brought to you, as a public service, by Lynne Cantwell.

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