Qualities of Light

A heartfelt story of family, friendship, and against all odds, budding love.

--Jonathan Odell, author of The Healing

Moore traces the contours of shadow without ever letting us forget the transformative

power of light.

--Kaethe Schwehn, author of The Rending and the Nest


Need one-on-one help from a knowledgeable author? Click here for manuscript review, editing, and personal coaching for your writing.

Mary featured in the The New York Times
Read here >

Email Mary:
(To reduce spam, this site does not use direct email links)

Want a free weekly writing exercise from Mary to keep your writing on track?
Sign up by emailing Mary at




Watch the
Writing the Container of Your Story

Your Book Starts Here

        Winner 2011

  NH Literary Awards

Readers Choice Award

Also available on audio

The consummate How-To Guide for everyone who has a book percolating inside them. —Nancy Slonim Aronie


Photo credit:
Bruce Fuller Photography




         The Latest . . .


One-day writing workshops on Zoom

sponsored by the Loft Literary Center, Minneapolis

The Art of Theme and Voice in Fiction and Memoir  

(Saturday, October 10, 12:00-5:00 p.m.)

Every writer craves an authentic voice and strong themes--the elements that make writing stand out.  Through innovative writing exercises, readings, and discussion, we'll explore the mechanics and art of developing and placing theme and voice in your writing. Find out more >

sponsored by the Loft Literary Center, Minneapolis

Afternoon Character Intensive: Bring Your Characters to Life on the Page 

(Saturday, November 7, 12:00-5:00 p.m.)

Characters are the heartbeat of story--whether imagined or real, they must come alive on the page.  Author Marilynne Robinson says that great characters create an almost "emotional entanglement" with the reader.  But how do you, as a writer, work with characters?  What if they are too mysterious or bore you?  What if you can't imagine how to bring them to life?

 Find out more >

sponsored by the Loft Literary Center, Minneapolis

Your Book Starts Here:  Learn to Storyboard Your Book! 

(Saturday, December 5., 11:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.)

Learn a simple technique that many professional writers use to build a strong structure of a novel, memoir, or nonfiction book--via storyboard brainstorming. We'll take ourselves through the steps of building a storyboard from "islands," or snippets of writing/scenes that aren't yet in sequence, then look at the balance of inner and outer story to help them become chapters.   Find out more >


Weeklong book-structuring immersion on Zoom

sponsored by Madeline Island School of the Arts, Wisconsin

Your Book Starts Here:  How to Plan, Write, and Develop Your Book! 

(Weeklong book-structuring immersion, February 8-12, 2021)

A weeklong immersion in your book--to finally get moving on it and upgrade your craft skills and structure.  Daily morning workshops on Zoom, afternoon private coaching sessions with Mary, and a great community make this a week of creativity you'll never forget  Independent study option also available if you've already made substantial progress on your manuscript and need more advanced feedback.  Find out more >

Retainer program

"I love how my book is finally taking shape, with your remarkable guidance and amazing gift for eliciting my best work." "Your help and excellent counsel has helped me persevere to write my first book.  I can't thank you enough." “You've given me so much—to not only jump start my rewrite in response to the agent feedback I received, but also to keep improving my writing on future projects."

—past retainer clients


Get personalized help with your writing project at any stage.  Five weeks of private coaching with check-ins by email, customized assignments, and evaluation of up to 250 d/s pages of your book-in-progress.  Limited spaces available.  Now booking for winter 2021.  Find out more >