Ever since turning 40 a few years ago, Mary has been trying to become harder to introduce, and, at 65, she finds she’s been succeeding. Her conventional resume includes thirty four years of practicing law, first with Sidley & Austin and then with Winston & Strawn, two of the largest firms in Chicago. She was a partner at both in the advertising, trademark, copyright, entertainment and sports law areas.  She retired from the practice of law on February 1, 2015, giving her addition time to write, do community service and pursue hobbies such as golf, sailing, tennis and bridge. She retired from the practice of law on February 1, 2015. Read more about Mary…

Latest Posts by Mary

Five Reasons to Move to Chicago to Write








Just wanted to share “Five Reasons” on why Chicago is a great place for writers.  I’d add a 6th reason:  we have a great pro bono organization called Lawyers for the Creative Arts, which provides free guidance and legal help to emerging authors on their rights and responsibilities.




Looking for a Kidney…for a Friend

Here is a copy of the letter Brown was good enough to let us send to members of the Class of 1973.







We are writing to you on behalf of a member of our Class at Brown, Suzanne Nolan ’73. You might remember Suzanne as co-captain of the women’s ice-hockey team, the Pandas, from 1971-1973 and our class graduation speaker. (more…)

My new “skyscraper ad” on Foreword Reviews

 This is the ad rotating on forewordreviews.com .  Go there now to get other great ideas for your spring break reading list!


This is the seal I get to use on ONE FOR THE ARK.  Cool!

OFTA #ForewordINDIES Finalist!

Three for three! Happy to announce that One for the Ark is a 2016 national #ForewordINDIES Book of the Year Awards Finalist in General Fiction. Warming Up was a finalist in 2013 and Saluting the Sun in 2015. Big winner to be announced June 24 at the American Library Association in Chicago. Hope springs eternal!  Thrilled to be in the finals. Many thanks to all of my fellow writers/workshoppers, coaches Fred Shafer, Enid Powell and Elaine Loeser, editor David Bloom, proofer Marian Ossman and of course publisher Susie Isaacs at Ampersand and designer David Robson, Robson Design. So grateful for such a          talented team!

If you’d like to leave a comment, you can do so here.

And of course, positive reviews at amazon.com are always welcome.

The Cruise Reading List

My reading list for our January cruise to Hawaii and Mexico was longer than my ability to stay “awoke.”  Cruising on the Westerdam with Holland America is way too relaxing!  Did manage to read a few books:

Commonwealth, by Ann Patchett, the author we are studying in my workshop with Fred Shafer.  Lots of characters, lots of poignancy.

Half of  Yellow Sun, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche, an intricate and intimate portrait of middle class intellectual Nigeria during the creation of Biafra and the subsequent wars.  Well drawn characters and interesting story lines on a subject I knew next to nothing about.

Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture by J.D. Vance, a Yale Law graduate from Ohio.  Not sure I fully understood his ultimate point, but nonetheless an interesting perspective and well worth reading.

And my favorite, Britt-Marie Was Here, by Fredrik Backman.  I’d worried that as much as I’d enjoyed A Man Called Ove, Backman’s style couldn’t sustain another novel without becoming tiring.  But it is sufficiently different, and the character so lovable–despite her rigid idiosyncracies–that I liked Britt-Marie even more than Ove.  On this list, this is the Must-Read.

And I started, and am still reading, The Little Friend: A Novel, by Donna Tartt.  A quarter way in and still not sure where it’s going, but I’m willing to go along for the ride.  Again, it’s the character–so uniquely herself–that keeps me going.