Maeve Maddox


Author | Teacher | Comparatist

Most Recent Post

The Fabergé Flute

Amateur flutist and English teacher Sallie Dunbar needs to get away. Not only is her life in a rut, the events of a frustrating school day have also pushed her to the limits. She impulsively drains her meager savings to spend Thanksgiving week at a music convention in 1980s London.

Anticipating a relaxing trip filled with sightseeing and perhaps a romantic fling, Sallie unwittingly becomes a killer’s target. A fabulous jeweled flute reputed to possess healing powers has gone missing. And someone is willing to kill to get it back.

Welcome to my site! Let me introduce my three selves


I wrote my first story at the age of ten, sent it to Jack and Jill Magazine and promptly received my first rejection slip. Years later, I tried again, with better results. That time, they accepted A Weapon for Brendan.

My published writing includes short fiction and nonfiction, two juvenile time-travel novels, a cozy mystery, five books on English usage, hundreds of blog posts about writing and English usage, and a film guide to movies about Joan of Arc. I am currently under contract for a historical novel set in the fifth century Roman Empire.

Perhaps the greatest mistake I’ve committed as a writer is to publish under more than one name. Word to the beginning writer—choose a name and stick with it.


Knowing that few authors support themselves solely by writing, I chose teaching as my backup profession. A lifelong lover of books and reading, it was an easy choice to become an English teacher.

My first job was in Rochester, New York. From there, I traveled to London, England, where I landed a job in a tutorial school that prepared girls to apply to the UK’s elite private schools. In small classes and under the close supervision of a formidable headmistress, I learned what’s possible when teachers, administrators, and parents are all on the same page. I continue to teach at my teaching site, AmericanEnglishDoctor and with books about English usage.

Since then, I have taught in the United States at every level—preschool to university. I have worked with children of differing abilities and economic backgrounds, in rural and urban schools. Thanks to the variety of my experience, I have acquired more than a superficial understanding of the challenges faced by parents, students, and teachers in the US public school system.

Readers who are also parents of school-age children may wish to check out my teaching site, The focus there is Basic Literacy and what parents can do to ensure that their children acquire it. Our public schools have become cultural battlefields. Because of the interference and influence of small, special-interest groups, parents must inform themselves of the best educational practices in the teaching of reading and general knowledge. The informed parent can monitor and supplement the child’s schoolwork.

Maeve’s Books about English usage

100 Writing Mistakes to Avoid

This brief and easy-to-use style guide for students, bloggers, and small-business owners addresses common errors of grammar, usage and spelling that distract readers from the message a writer wishes to convey.

The Pronoun Book

The Pronoun Book contains all the information the nonspecialist needs to use pronouns correctly. There’s even a section on the use of pronouns preferred by gender-divergent speakers.

7 Steps to Good Spelling

This guide is an easy-to-follow handbook for readers who are tired of making basic spelling errors in their online communication or business correspondence. It includes a list of 150 words that SpellCheck won’t catch.

Word Rage

Self-appointed grammar police love to attack people for their choice of language. BUT—they are often themselves mistaken in what they think is incorrect usage. Find out what so-called “mistakes” are not mistakes at all.


My two graduate degrees are in the subject of Comparative Literature. These studies have taken me not only to standard literary classics in different languages, but also to history, religion, and pop culture. These are the topics that underpin my fiction.

Icons of the Middle Ages

This two-volume textbook presents short biographies of “Rulers, Writers, Rebels, and Saints.” I contributed the article on Joan of Arc in Volume 2.

A Joan for All Seasons

Joan of Arc in History and the Movies Six American filmmakers created six different Joans. The films reveal a great deal about social attitudes toward women and their place in a male-dominated world.

Language Essay Collections

Word Rage

Word Rage takes a look at the errors and turns of phrase that often provoke hostility in readers—often without cause. These essays explore the history of English, as well as basic grammar, punctuation, vocabulary, and spelling. 

Digital edition $2.99. Paperback $8.66

So You Want To Write

Thanks to services like KDP and Lulu, everyone can be a published writer these days.

Unfortunately, not everyone who self-publishes has bothered to learn the craft.

If you’re thinking of writing a book, So You Want To Write is a good jumping-off place.

Digital edition $2.99.   $6.99

Grist to the Mill.

One of the most frequent questions any author is asked is, “Where do you get your ideas?”
For my part, the answer is, “Everywhere.” Books I’ve read, news headlines, TV shows, TV ads, overheard conversations—anything and everything feeds into my imagination.
The posts on this site are arranged according to my four favorite topics:
Writing, Language, Popular Culture, and Education.



Popular Culture