Entries by Mary Maddox

Looking for an Excursion into Terror?

Pick up Cherie Reich’s latest book, The Nightmare Collection. Once the idea for a story has taken root, the writer looks for the best way of telling it. She makes decisions about point of view, tone, and structure that determine what the story becomes. These are problems of craft. It’s a delight when the writer […]

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Lu Jakes tells all

Lu Jakes, the protagonist of my thriller TALION, is being interviewed today at World Literary Café. I hope you’ll take a few minutes to drop by and meet this extraordinary fifteen-year-old girl who must fight to save herself and her friend from a serial killer. World Literary Café is a wonderful site for authors and […]

Why Readers Give Up on Books

I tripped over a word usage error while reading a thriller that I’ll call Evil Conspiracy. I sighed and put my Kindle aside. Once I get over my annoyance, I might give the novel another try. Or I might not. Here’s the odd thing, though. Not long ago I encountered the same error in another […]

A Bullet for Carlos hits the bull’s-eye

I love novels in a series. With each book you get to know the characters and their world a little better until they become like friends and you can hardly wait until your next visit. With the debut of Jim Giammatteo’s A Bullet for Carlos, I’ve discovered a new friend in Brooklyn cop Connie Gianelli. […]

Why Jesus talks to himself

A month ago I posted an essay on second-person point of view and its ambiguity and rarity in fiction—especially genre fiction. Thanks to that post, I learned about a crime thriller, Bigger Than Jesus by Robert Chazz Chute, in which the protagonist, a hitman, narrates the story entirely in second person. The concept interested me. […]

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Interview with indie author Ricki Wilson

Today it’s my pleasure to interview Ricki Wilson, an independent author and professional educator from Oklahoma. Growing up among genuine cowboys, Ricki learned at an early age to appreciate the true value of a good horse and a faithful dog. Maggie’s Fall, Wilson’s first novel, is a tribute to both. The Kindle Book Review describes […]

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A is for Arrogant

Recently I happened on an article in the online edition of Forbes magazine: “Publishing Is Broken, We’re Drowning in Indie Books – And That’s a Good Thing.” The author, David Vinjamuri, assesses the conflict between traditional and Indie publishing and predicts both will survive, even thrive. Vinjamuri begins by quoting two well-known authors who speak […]

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Why I don’t write on vacation

Last month, I was immersed in the first draft of the sequel to Talion. The story flowed straight from my head onto the page. Sometimes I had no idea what would come next. It just came. Writers understand what I’m talking about, what a blessed state it is. The last thing I wanted was to […]

Becoming a writer

When I was four, my family lived in Soldier Summit, Utah, a forlorn place high in the Wasatch Mountains. Population two or three dozen people, tops. Our house was heated with a coal stove. It had running water but no indoor toilet. My father had been working as a dispatcher at the railroad station there, […]

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Payment: 49% of a dream

One of my friends received a proposal recently. Not a marriage proposal, more like a plea for help thinly disguised as a business deal. She’s an accomplished writer whose memoir was published by a prestigious academic press. She teaches writing at the university level. A stranger called and asked her to write his memoir. Someone […]

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Walldogs come to Arcola

On a rainy afternoon Joe and I took a road trip to check out the Walldog event in the nearby town of Arcola. The Walldogs are a group of sign artists who have painted murals on the sides of buildings in towns and cities  all across America. The murals are designed to chronicle people and […]

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The Big R

On May 31 I retired from the teaching position I held for more than three decades. Last month the English department at Eastern Illinois University had a party for the three of us who were retiring. Actually, the department has two parties every year – at the end of fall and spring semesters – whether […]