Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Book Note: Maggie's song by Marcia Ware

 Maggie's Song, Volume 1 of the Full Circle Saga, by recording artist and radio personality Marcia Ware released today, July 28, 2015, from WordCrafts Press. Ware's highly anticipated debut novel is now available in trade paperback and all major eBook formats, and is at all major online bookstores. It is available from brick 'n' mortar retail book stores through Ingram Content Group, the world's largest distributor of physical and digital content.

Maggie sSong Cover Final
"Maggie's Song" - the debut novel from recording artist and radio personality, Marcia Ware
The novel's protagonist, Maggie West, is a single, 30-something, curvy African-American woman who makes her living as a songwriter/backup singer in the unlikely world of Country music. Ware classifies the novel as a 'clean, contemporary romance.'

"Maggie's Song is a contemporary romance written from the perspective of a woman who has lived her life outside of the safe confines of her childhood home," Ware explains. "Maggie has been on the road as a backup singer for a country star. She has been in compromising situations. She's seen life as it is and she has made her share of mistakes. I think it is an authentic story about a Christian woman who has real world experiences outside of the church.

"I wanted to make the story edgy, but to keep it clean," she adds. "I think there is a way to express romantic love that doesn't involve taking all your clothes off and climbing into bed or using certain language. There are people who actually live their lives that way. It is not a foreign concept. It is not a galaxy far, far away."

"When I first started writing the book, it was more of a lark," Ware muses. "But over the course of time, it went from being an artistic outlet to something very personal. These characters became almost real to me. It has been an amazing journey. It will be exciting, and a bit unnerving, to introduce these characters to readers."

“The way you were smiling to yourself, I figured you were thinking ‘bout your man.” Still in the blush of her honeymoon, Chrissy wanted to see the whole world in love.

“My man,” Maggie sighed. “Nope, I wasn’t thinking about him.”

Maggie’s chances for landing that elusive recording contract were dwindling by the second. The country music industry wasn’t exactly clamoring for a 30-something African American woman looking to launch a solo career. And there was the issue of image. Maggie was a woman of ample figure with curves to spare. Industry insiders suggested that she’d be more successful in the business if she dropped fifty pounds.

Then there was Richard. A handsome, prominent entertainment lawyer, they met at a Star Records fund raiser. With a subtle magnetism and a brilliant smile, Richard said all the right things. At first Maggie thought he was a small piece of heaven. There was nothing she wouldn’t do for him. Soon enough she discovered the truth. Maggie was sweet enough to love, but for Richard, Maggie was just a stepping stone to the rich and famous. She would do until someone more suitable came along.

As for Maggie, the only reason she held on was that nagging question in the back of her mind: 
"If not Richard, then who on earth would want me?"

marcia ware headshot small
Marcia Ware, author of "Maggie's Song"
About Marcia Ware
With a resume that includes appearances at Carnegie Hall, The House of Blues in Chicago, the Grand Ol’ Opry, five European and three Australian concert tours, Marcia Ware’s musical background is as varied as it is colorful. In addition to her own celebrated solo work, she has provided background vocals for artists such as Lorrie Morgan, Pam Tillis, Peter Frampton, Mary Wilson of the Supremes, Gospel greats Bill and Gloria Gaither and the legendary Chaka Khan. She has also been a featured vocalist with the famed Funk Brothers of Motown.

An aspiring actress, she has appeared in several episodes of the third season of the ABC drama, Nashville playing…surprise, surprise…a background singer.

Marcia counts first among her many passions her relationship with her Savior; as well as time spent with her family and her amazing boyfriend, songwriting, travel, harmonizing with the radio, good food, endless games of Candy Crush on her Smartphone, Daniel Day-Lewis movies and Ohio State Buckeyes football. She resides in Franklin, TN.

Maggie's Song is her first novel.

About WordCrafts Press
WordCrafts Press is a small, independent publishing company dedicated to the idea that there is no greater means of communicating truth than the medium of story. Great stories lift us out of the mundane, exhilarate us with adventure and passion, open our minds to great ideas, and remind us what it means to be human. We publish both novels and non-fiction.
We invite you to take a break from the daily grind, turn off the television, brew up a cup of hot tea, open a book and read for a while. Who knows, you might find a whole new world to explore.

For more information about Marcia Ware or Maggie's Song, visit WordCrafts.net.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Book Review: The Lost Garden by Katharine Swartz

The Lost Garden
By Katharine Swartz
Lion Fiction, 2015

Two stories set a century apart intertwine in Katharine Swatrz's "The Lost Garden," the second book in her Tales from Goswell series. In the present, Marin Ellis assumes guardianship of her younger half-sister, Rebecca after the death of their father and Rebecca's mother. Unsure what direction to take in her own life, Marin yields to Rebecca's plea to give them a fresh start by purchasing Bower House, a former vicarage in England's West Cumberland. A locked door to an apparent lost garden intrigues the sisters and they are enveloped by its history.

Meanwhile, the garden's origins and the post-World-War-I lives of the home's previous inhabitants, Eleanor Sanderson, the vicar's daughter and her sister, Katherine unfold as men return from battle and people try to resume their lives. The two tales skillfully are shared intermittently with every other chapter so that the stories unfold simultaneously, but without the jarring that sometimes can occur when the timeline shifts in novels. We also don't get a chance to forget what is happening in one story before moving on to the second.

Similarities surface in the stories as we see how the sisters learn to relate to each other and to the other people in their lives. Marin and Eleanor also have father/daughter issues to work through as well as how to work through grief. And of course there is some romance. The stories are fairly predictable, but in a pleasant way. I hadn't read the first book -- this sequel stands on its own -- but I had been drawn to the book because of its "secret garden" plot.  I wasn't disappointed. The book impressed me with its well written dialogue, often using vernacular, and Swartz's strong descriptive style with metaphor that puts us in the setting and gives clear understanding of what the characters are experiencing.

A nice example:
"Carefully she lifted her skirt and moved through the garden. She had never walked the full length of the place, and now she studied the old slate path that had been buried under the soil and which Jack had scraped clean. He'd shown her the path when he'd first cleared it . . . and Elanor had studied them scrupulously, simply to have a moment alone with Jack."

Touches of faith add to the characters, but are not overbearing. Makes me want to go read the first novel, The Vicar's Wife, also dual stories separated by decades.
-- Lauren Yarger

A copy of the book was provided free by the publisher at my request.

Daily Inspiration

The Blind Side

Read about the real life mom from "The Blind Side."

Lifeway: http://www.lifeway.com/article/?id=169816

Guideposts: http://www.guideposts.com/story/sandra-bullock-blind-side-football?page=0,1

Read Matt Mungle's review of the movie at http://www.buddyhollywood.com/.

Lauren Yarger, Bio

Lauren Yarger has written, directed and produced numerous shows and special events for both secular and Christian audiences. She co-wrote a Christian musical version of “A Christmas Carol” which played to sold-out audiences of over 3,000 in Vermont and was awarded the 2000 Vermont Bessie (theater and film awards) for “People’s Choice for Theatre.” She also has written two other dinner theaters, sketches for church services and devotions for Christian artists.

Yarger trained for three years in the Broadway League’s Producer Development Program, completed the Commercial Theater Institute's Producing Three-Day Training and produced a one-woman musical about Mary Magdalene that toured nationally and closed with an off-Broadway run.

In 2008 she was a Fellow at the National Critics Institute at the O'Neill Theater Center in Waterford, CT. She writes reviews of Broadway and off-Broadway theater with a Christian perspective for Reflections in the Light (http://reflectionsinthelight.blogspot.com/) and is editor of The Connecticut Arts Connection. She also is a contributing editor for BroadwayWorld.com

She also reviews books for Publisher's Weekly and is a member of the National Book Critics Circle. She formerly was Connecticut theater editor for CurtainUp, a national theater web site bsed in New York and a reviewer for American Theater Web.

She also served as Executive Director of Masterwork Productions, Inc. and worked in arts management for the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts in Hartford and the Hartford Symphony Orchestra.

She is a freelance writer and member of the Drama Desk, The Outer Critics Circle, The American Theater Critics Association, The League of Professional Theatre Women and The CT Critics Circle.

A former newspaper editor and graduate of the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism, Yarger lives with her husband in West Granby, CT and has two adult children.

Copyright Notice

All contents copyright © Lauren Yarger 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013. All rights reserved. For reprint permission, contact masterworkproductions@yahoo.com.

Scripture from THE MESSAGE Copyright 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

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