Entries by Mary Maddox


No Strings Attached

In a post a couple of weeks ago, All Characters Must Die , I wondered why readers care so fiercely about fictional characters. I figured the key was identification and empathy. Readers find enough of themselves in the characters to climb inside their fictional skin and experience the story. But understanding isn’t enough. As a […]

I Should Be Grading Papers

When I began this blog I promised myself not to whine about my tribulations as a writer. I don’t have an agent anymore, my novel isn’t a bestseller, I have to work as a teacher to support myself, etc. Poor me. Given the tragedy and hardship many people face daily, nobody is going to care […]


All Characters Must Die

In Stephen King’s Misery a novelist finds himself at the mercy of a fan infuriated because he has killed off her favorite character in his latest book. The woman is obviously a lunatic, yet a few days ago I found myself sympathizing with her. At the very least I wanted to write fantasy novelist George […]


I first encountered the word ineffable when I was thirteen or fourteen in a dusty old novel from the library in Heber, Utah. I remember nothing of the novel, not even the title, nothing except the image of moonlight shining through the high window of some castle, its beauty ineffable. I found the word in the dictionary […]


She Went North

Narratives are often classified as plot driven or character driven. In plot-driven works such as thrillers, events happen to the characters, who are defined by their reactions. In character-driven works, characters shape the events and outcome of the story. The categories seem simple and obvious – until l sit down to write. I’m nearing the end of a […]

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Songs that Make Me Cry

Songs don’t exactly make me cry. I have to accept the invitation, and many times I say no. But when I say yes, I usually feel better afterward. I’ve never understood the mystery in music, how patterns of sound affect the brain and evoke emotion, with or without words. Certain songs combine music and lyrics in […]


My Beautiful Dreams All Fade into the Last

             Family dinner on a winter porch.         Our table, too large, squeezes us         against fogged glass. My chair wobbles.        Others, more privileged, are eating         inside the house. I complain, but         someone whispers the man who shares         the house is sick, it may be cancer.         The others crowd onto the porch.         My chair collapses. I reach for         another, not to sit on but to hold         the glass of […]

Introducing Dreambeast

Please stop by Dreambeast, the chronicle of my enthusiasms and obsession, where I blog about the things I love. The first post  is devoted to riding and my beautiful horse, Tucker.


Darkness in Sunlight

In August I spent several days with my friend Carol in Studio City, California. Carol works in the movies as an art department coordinator. She was working then on a film called The Artist, so we partied in the evenings and I entertained myself during the day. I took my mini-cam and explored Ventura Boulevard. […]



Here is the entire saga of my adventure in video production wherein I make my own book trailer, “Rad Pays His Respects.” Some readers may have already seen the first posts. If so, I invite them to pick up where they left off.

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What the hell is a codec?

After some research into editing software, I narrowed my choices to three: Sony Vega, Corel Video Studio, and Adobe Premier Pro. All three companies offered free download of a trial version that would function for a month then shut down unless you paid up. So I began with Vega. I downloaded the trial version of […]

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How hard could it be

When I began promoting Talion, I noticed book trailers were hot. I found dozens on You Tube, thirty-second or one minute ads with authors talking about their books or music and visuals to evoke the book’s atmosphere. I thought Talion deserved a trailer too. And I knew right away what it would be. In my […]