I'm a literary writer, which means that I care about the shape of sentences as much as I care about plot and character. My stories have won the Barry Hannah Prize, the Matt Clark Prize, the Ron Rash Award, the American Literary Review Fiction Prize, an Illinois Arts Council Fellowship for Fiction, the Seven Hills Review Prose Contest, the Jeanne M. Leiby Chapbook Award, a Gold Medal for Drama from Readers' Favorites, and many others. Here is a sample of my work.
Her young life changed in an instant. Now she shares her story with the child she gave away.
Adopted at birth, Marylee's parents told her she was a "chosen child." She tried her hardest to make them proud, but her parents' divorce sent her into the comforting arms of a handsome Catholic boy.
Convinced that he was her Romeo and she a modern-day Juliet, she surrendered to passion. Unfortunately, it was 1961. Pregnant girls were sent away, and their babies given up for adoption.
Nature vs. nurture:Which plays a greater role in who we become? The family we were raised in, or the parents we never knew?
In telling her adult son the story of his birth, can the narrator find compassion for her own wounded inner child?
If you like truthful accounts laced with the passion of youth and the wisdom of age, read Marylee MacDonald's funny and poignant memoir about how we grow up, grow old, and learn to accept ourselves.
The stories in Body Language explore our often misguided attempts at connection and our very human "flight or fight" response in the face of fear. The characters stand at crossroads in their lives. They must decide whether to move ahead or stay put.
When one of my stories appeared in a literary magazine and even when it won a prize (as most of the stories in this collection had done), the publications vanished within months. Often when friends asked where they could read what I'd written, I hemmed and hawed. Finding back issues of literary magazines isn't easy. I'm thrilled to have a dozen of my best stories in Bonds of Love and Blood.
This nonfiction resource lists over 350 publishers, book contests, and small presses that take "unagented" manuscripts. Authors can contact the editors and decision-makers at publishing houses directly. For the most part, the independent publishers in this book do not charge fees.
The Rug Bazaar features two American women travelers. Each discovers the pleasures and dangers of liaisons with Turkish men. "A duet of stories that flies in the face of anything you'd think a love story could be...Much of the beauty of The Rug Bazaar is to be found in the way one story complements another."--David James Poissant, judge of the Jeanne M. Leiby Chapbook Contest
Mid-life mom, Colleen Gallagher, would do anything to protect her children from harm. When her daughter's husband falls ill with ALS, Colleen rolls up her sleeves and moves in, juggling the multiple roles of grandma, cook, and caregiver, only to discover that even her superhuman efforts can't fix what's wrong.
River Oak Review, Fall 1994.
To spare her mother the embarrassment of having a child born "out of wedlock," this honor student signed away all rights to the son she longed to raise. This piece of creative nonfiction eventually led to my memoir Surrender, published in 2021.
Selected for Roll, a Telling Our Stories Press anthology edited by CoCo Harris, this adoption essay makes links between identity, writing, and adoption. The anthology has a wealth of wonderful short memoirs and personal essays.
Written immediately after 9/11, this essay asks hard questions about America's collective fear and hubris.