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
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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 . . .


Book-writer's retreats and independent study intensives with Mary


Best creative week ever! I came with just an idea and I left with a detailed map that I can use to write my first draft. Wonderful community, too--relaxed, yet everyone is focused and productive. I can see why writers return every year.

—past attendee


Give yourself—and your creativity—a week away, where you can focus on your book, have plenty of time to write, plus gain craft skills at your level through workshops and daily coaching sessions with Mary. Excellent accomodations, beautiful locations, where you can get quiet enough to hear your own words. For writers at any level with a book project in any genre.  Click on dates below to find out more.    Find out more >

Via Zoom!  March 30-April 3, 2020 workshop will be held virtually

Madeline Island, Wisconsin: July 20-24, 2020

Madeline Island School of the Arts


I made more progress in this one week than in two years of my MFA program. Now I understand the bones of my novel and will finally finish it.

—past attendee


Summer in-person writing workshops

at the Loft Literary Center, Minneapolis

Afternoon Characters intensive: Bring Your Characters to Life on the Page  (lnks to come)

Friday, July 17, 12:00-5:00 p.m.

This afternoon class will let you audition the most compelling cast for your fiction or memoir, then free them from any conscious or unconscious paralysis (safe, stuck placed) via in-class exercises, craft lessons, and sample reading.  We'll explore key character building skills, such as longing and desire, external and internal motivation, physical appearance, community, values, secrets, backstory, gestures, and more.

at the Loft Literary Center, Minneapolis

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

(links to come)

Saturday, July 25, 12:00-5:00 p.m.

All books need strong structures to keep readers engaged and turning the page. This workshop taught by the author of thirteen books in three genres will lead you through the steps to explore your book idea and its possible structures, get feedback on your idea, and come away with a visual map to help you plan, write, and revise your book.


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 fall and winter 2019.  Find out more >